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A Mon1 h 



and i1s Neighbourhood 








BAHiuQcs H . n. Of. vsnKw^ 

\ t 

\ ■i. '''■'^ 





SUMMER OF 1877. 








^/7 ^ 

A I 



I HAVE to throw myself upon the indulgence 
of my readers, and hope that they will forgive 
any deficiencies which they will find in the 
following pages. However they may view my 
efibrts, I claim for myself an honest desire to 
bring before the public the great privileges 
obtainable at the blessed shrine of the Most 
Holy Mother of God at Lourdes, and, in the 
words of the poet-priest of Betharram, Pierre 
de Bastide, who gave up his soul to God in 
1665, I humbly repeat : 

'* Virgin 1 obtain for me, as the reward of 
my labours, not abundance of gold, nor precious 
stones, nor the vain glory of the world, nor 

iv Preface. 

soft delights, nor brilliant ornaments, but 
rather the gift of Divine Love, the Ught which 
shines in Heaven, and the unutterable joys of 
Eternal Life/' 



April, 1878. 



Brief Sketch op the Apparitions. — Bernadette 
SouBiROus. — Numerous Miracles. — Investi- 
gation BY THE Bishop. — Miracles Proved. — 
Pope Pius IX. approves op the Devotions 
TO THE Immaculate Virgin at Lourdes. - vii 


Liverpool to Bordeaux. — Interesting Ceremony 
at the Cathedral. — Bordeaux to Tarbes. — 
Tarbes to St. Pe. — Calumny on the Sainte- 
Peans. - - - - - 27 


Lourdes. — ^Wellington and Napoleon. — The 
Church op Notre Dame de Lourdes. — Pre- 
sents from all Nations. — The Irish Lamp. 
— Touching Inscriptions in the Church. - 38 


Grand Ceremonies in the Church. — Procession 
FROM Grotto to the Town. — A Perplexed 
Irishman. — Right Rev. Dr. Moreno, of Lower 
California. — Escapes from his Pursuers, - 50 


Visit to Pau. — The Chateau. — Abd-el-Kader. 
Queen Isabella. — Beautiful Cemetery. — 
English* Confession. — Return to Lourdes. — 
Solemn and most interesting Ceremonials. 
— Brilliant Illuminations and Processions. 
— Interivew with the Cure Peyramale. - 64 


Saint Augustine and Church Psalmody. — 
Great Assemblage of Carmelite Fathers to 
honour Dr. Moreno. — Market-day. — ^E«e.^^^ 

vi • Contents, 


AND Irish Modes op Transacting Business. 
— Visit to Betharram. ... 


Betharram. — TheCalvary. — "Wonderful Sculp- 
tures. — The Crucifixion. — ^The Impenitent 

. Thief. — Mary Magdalene. — The Pie Mater. 
— Keturn to Lourdes. — The Festival of the 
Assumption. — Great Processions and Illumi- 
nations. - - - - - 78 


Argelles. — Peasant Proprietors. — St. Luz. — 
Curious Church. — Wonderful Scenery. — 
Bareges. — Mineral Watkrs. — The Pass of 


THE Sheep. — The Valley op the Campan. — 
Gripp. — Bagneres de Bigorre. — Death of an 
Actress. — Burial Eites. — The Great Marble 
Works op M. Gerezut. - - - 113 


Thundersjorm at Lourdes. — The National Pil- 
grimage. — Numerous Miracles. — An Irish- 
man's Faith in the Blessed Virgin. — A 
Miracle on board an Atlantic Steamer in 
Mid-ocean. — Pius IX. sends the Golden 
EosE TO Lourdes. — Irish Prelate Pilgrims 
AT THE Grotto. — Eeturn Homewards. — 
Tarbes. — Limoges: its Churches. — Issoudun. 
— Paris. — Versailles — Eouen. — Jean d' Arc. 
— ^Dieppe. - - - - - 131 


Presentation op the Golden Eose by Pope 
Pius IX. — Interesting Ceremony. — Speeches 
op the Archbishop op Eheims and the Papal 
Delegate. — Pius IX. and the Water op 
Lourdes. — Details of Numerous Miraculous 
Cures. - - - - - 147 

Appendix - - - - - 166 


Erief Sketch of the Apparitions. — Bemadette Sou- 
birous. — Numerous Miracles. — Investigation hy the 
Eishop. — Miracles Proved. — Pope Pius IX. ap- 
proves of the Devotions to the Immaculate Virgin 
at Lourdes. 

In the present day, when every one who 
imagines himself competent to instruct or 
amuse the public rushes into print, and con- 
tributes his share to the already overstocked 
literary market, some apology is due from 
me to my readers for my intrusion into the 
fields of literature. Had I consulted my own 
convenience, the following pages would have 
remained impubHshed ; but, yielding to the 
earnest persuasions of some friends who read 
the series of papers which I contributed to the 
Drogheda Argus newspaper, in the fall of 
last year, concerning the church and grotto of 
Notre Dame de Lourdes, I now issue this, my 
first attempt at book-making. It was also 

viii Introduction. 

lu'ged, that by giving in detail the best and 
readiest route by which the blessed shrine of 
the Mother of God can be reached, I should 
be doing a service to many whose devotional 
feelings might prompt them to pay a visit 
at the fountain of grace and mercy in the 
lovely valley of the Gave at Lourdes. As 
far as the latter is concerned, my readers 
will find in the Appendix ample information. 
I will add, that the pleasure derivable from 
travels in a strange country depends much upon 
the certainty with which a person can assure 
himself that he has in his hands a guide to 
point the way in which he should travel ; and 
the difficulties with which I had to contend 
I hope to remove from the path of such of my 
readers as may visit Lourdes. 

Of the few works before the pubUc treating 
of the wonderful apparitions of the Blessed 
Virgin at Lourdes, the most complete is 
" Notre Dame de Lourdes,'' published by M. 
Henri Lasserre, (1869), as an ex-voto offering 
for signal favours received. In this work full 
particular are given of all the occurrences 
at Lourdes up to the date of publication, whilst 
Denys Shyne Lawlor's (1864) "Pilgrimages 
of the Pyr^n^es " has a chapter most piously 

Introduction. ix 

and eloquently written on the wonder-working 
power which so many have received benefits 
from at the holy shrine. Canon Husenbeth 
(1870), Miss Caddel (1869), and Count Russell- 
Killough, in what they have written concerning 
Lourdes, have drawn all their facts from the 
noble work of LasseiTe. The price at which 
Lasserre's book is published, as well as the 
language in which it is written, will preclude 
many persons whom my humble publication 
may interest from having an opportunity of 
perusing it. I will therefore draw upon M. 
Lasserre's great work for some facts relative to 
the apparitions, etc., at Lourdes, for the bene- 
fit of my readers ; for this author, in giving his 
beautiful work to the public, was inspired with 
the hope that many would thereby be induced 
to hasten to Lourdes to honour Our Holy 
Mother, and through her powerful intercession 
gain graces for their own souls. Dare I hope 
that even my little efibrts may tend to the like 
results ? 

One of the most painful facts which 
Catholics experience in travelling is the in- 
fatuated bigotry which stares them in the face 
in every page of the pretended guide-books 
wherever mention is made of objects or places 

X Introduction. 

hallowed by the early recollections of the 
saints and martyrs of the Catholic Church. 
That from amongst the numerous educated 
Catholics who yearly travel on the Continent 
of Europe, no one has been found to supply 
the antidote, by giving a true guide, is a sur- 
prising, and, I must say, a discreditable fact. 
Whilst lamenting that such is the case, I 
hope that some competent person will take this 
matter in hands, and give to Catholics who 
may travel abroad a book which will indeed 
be a guide to them. 

As, no doubt, many who may peruse these 
pages will not have an opportunity of visiting 
the thrice blessed shrine of Lourdes, I will, 
for their especial benefit, give a succinct account 
of the miraculous apparitions — eighteen in all 
— which our Blessed and Holy Mother deigned 
to make, and some of the happy results flowing 

Towards the close of the year 1857, Fran- 
cois Soubirous, a humble man, and his family 
lived in a poor dwelling adjoining a mill, by 
labouring in which he earned a scanty support 
for his family. Soubirous had four children : 
two sons and two daughters. The eldest of 
the family was named Bernadette, who from 



her infancy was subject to illnesses. A neigh- 
bouring peasant in the sweet vale of Bartres 
undertook to nurse and bring up Bernadette 
for the small sum of five francs a month ; which, 
small as it was, Frangois, her father, found it 
difficult always to pay, having often to make 
up the stipend in labour. The kind family 
into which Bernadette gained admission be- 
came very much attached to her. When she 
was able to go out into the fields, her employ- 
ment was to tend the lambs and goats as they 
browsed upon the herbage of the valley. Ber-. 
nadette grew up in the love and esteem of her 
benefactors, and her health was considerably 
improved. Being now in her thirteenth year, 
her parents thought the time had arrived when 
their daughter should return home to be pre- 
pared for the most important act in the Ufe of 
youth, the worthy reception of her First Coi^i- 
munion. The good nuns of the convent of St. 
Vincent de Paul lovingly undertook the train- 
ing of the young shepherdess, and little did 
they think what a glory to their Order she 
would one day be, by becoming a member of 
their community. But, how inscrutable are 
the ways of God ! 

February, 1858, saw the Lourdois making 

xii Introduction. 

ready to hold their annual civic festival of 
Shrove Tuesday; but whilst they and their 
houses were decked out for the feast, there 
was one amongst them whose hearth was 
desolate, for no fire burned thereon. This was 
in the home of Soubirous. Bemadette's mother 
sent her children out along the banks of the 
Gave to gather some brushwood, wherewith to 
make a fire. The two daughters of Soubirous, 
accompanied by a neighbour s little girl, Jeanne 
Abadie, went forth on their mission. The 
children got upon an island, formed by the 
junction of the Gave and Merlasse, and ap- 
proached a spot opposite the rocks of Massa- 
bielle. A mill-race separated the children from 
the rocks ; and as the mill was then . imder- 
going repair, the water was shallow in the 
mill-race. Bernadette's sister and Jeanne 
Abadie took ofi* their sabots, and crossed over 
to the rocks, where, in a natural cave, some 
brushwood was found. Bernadette was anxious 
to go across also, but as she had stockings on, 
she asked her companions to throw a few large 
stones into the water, that she might step over 
without wetting her feet ; but they replied, 
''Do as we have done, and come across." Ber- 
nadette leaned against a tree, and commenced 

Introduction. xiii 

to take off her shoes and stockings, when her 
ears were saluted with the sounds of the 
Angelus, which came from many a convent 
and monastery, on the hills and the valleys, 
and fell sweetly upon her ears. Instinctively 
the young shepherdess, as was her wont, fell 
upon her knees, and took out her rosary, 
which she always carried with her, and com- 
menced to tell her beads ' as she repeated her 

As she was thus engaged, a mighty wind 
swept over her head, which greatly startled 
her. She looked up, and saw that the lofty 
poplars under which she knelt stood perfectly 
motionless. She was mistaken ; no wind had 
disturbed their branches. Again she prayed, 
and again was she startled by a whirlwind ! 
Raising her head, and looking in the direction 
the wind had taken, she saw, in a niche above 
the cave in the rock, a figure which filled her 
with awe — a life-size representation of the Holy 
Mother of God, surrounded by all the efful- 
gence of heavenly glory ! The lovely appari- 
tion smiled sweetly on the humble shepherdess, 
and beckoned to her to cross the stream. 
Having done so, she inquired of her companions 
if they had heard or seen anything strange- 

xiv Introduction. 

They answered that they had not. The 
bundles of sticks were gathered up, and the 
three gu'ls directed their steps homewards. 
Noticing something strange in the manner of 
Bemadette, her sister and Jeannie urged her 
to tell them if she had seen or heard any- 
thing. Under a promise of secrecy, Bema- 
dette related what she had heard and seen, 
when at once the two girls said, " It must have 
been the Mother of God." Thusout of themouths 
of babes had wisdom spoken. Childlike, the girls 
no sooner reached their homes, than they 
took their mothers into their confidence, Bema- 
dette's saying it was only a fancy, and should not 
be thought any more about. The soul of Bema- 
dette had been too solemnly touched by Divine 
Love to give way to the suggestion of her pru- 
dent parent. Other visits to the grotto were 
made by her, and still the Holy Virgin was 
there to console her. The visits of Bemadette 
became noised abroad ; and her parents, fear- 
ful of injurious consequences happening to her, 
forbade her to go to the grotto. The clergy of 
the parish, apprehending that a scandal to re- 
ligion might arise from the alleged apparitions, 
did all they could to dissuade the people, who 
now began to flock daily to the grotto, from 

Introduction. xv 

going there. Monsignor Laurence, bishop of 
the diocese, prohibited any of his clergy from 
countenancing the stories told, and from being 
seen at the grotto, and all that prudence could 
do to prevent any scandal arising from the 
alleged occurrences was done by those having 
charge of the ecclesiastical affairs of the diocese. 
Notwithstanding these measures, the faithful 
flocked in increasing numbers to the shrine, as 
they termed it, of Our Holy Lady. 

Bemadette, although restrained by her 
parents' wishes, felt herself impelled, ' by 
some agency, to her inexplicable, to visit the 
grotto ; and on each of the eighteen visits 
upon which the Divine Mother of God ap- 
peared and spoke to her, she was the more 
firmly convinced of the truthfulness of the 
apparitions. The good and holy cur6 of 
Lourdes, M. Peyramale, talked the matter 
over with Bemadette ; and, as a test of the 
truth of the apparitions, he told her to ask 
the Lady to make the wild rose-tree, which 
grew around the niche, put forth its blos- 
soms. Bemadette, on the next visit, con- 
veyed to the Blessed Virgin the curb's re- 
quest. The Holy Virgin smiled at hearing 
the wish of the cur6; and, inviting Beraa- 

xvi Introduction. 

dette to come closer to her, she pointed to 
a comer of the grotto, telling her to scrape 
away some of the earth, and wash and drink 
of the water she would find there. Bema- 
dette did as directed, and, behold, a stream 
of water answered to the efforts of the tiny 
fingers of the little shepherdess, as did the 
rock to the wand of Moses, when leading his 
people towards the Land of Promise. The cm-e 
also commissioned Bemadette to ask the ap- 
parition what was her name. In answer to 
this the Holy Virgin, holding a rosary in her 
blessed hands, said, "/ am the Immaculate 
Conception ! Tell the priests I wish a churcli 
built here, and to have processions come here." 
Here was a visible fact. The apparitions 
were only vouchsafed to Bemadette, in the 
midst of countless crowds ; but the springing 
forth of the fountain was too much for tlie 
sceptical to account for. Officialdom must now 
step in to put a stop to such vagaries, as they 
termed the occurrences at the rocks of Massa- 
bielle. All the military and civil authorities 
now put forth the means at their disposal to 
discredit the statements made ; and as, despite 
the injunctions of the bishop and clergy, the 
people persevered in going to and praying 

Introduction. xvii 

at the grotto, they (the Government authori- 
ties) would see if such nonsensical proceedings 
could not be put down. Vain men ! How im- 
potent are your reasonings against the decrees 
of God ! 

Proclamations were issued, forbidditig any 
one to trespass upon the lands around the 
rocks of Massabielle, as it was property be- 
longing to the government of the town. Bar- 
riers were put up, and police officers detailed 
to see that no one challenged the orders given. 
Nay ; those men in authority even went so far 
as to arrest Bernadette, as one primarily re- 
sponsible for the manifestations which were 
being made. The mayor questioned her, the 
police magistrate sought to conf oimd her ; but 
as there was no evil in the child, truth triumphed 
over worldly machinations. Failing to confound 
her, they sought in their malice to circumvent 
her liberty by placing her in a lunatic asylum at 
Tarbes ; and for this purpose a committal was 
made out. The Cure Peyramale heard of this 
matter, and, although he had most prudently 
abstained from identifying himself with Berna- 
dette's proceedings, saw that the time was come 
when the pastor of the flock should shield his 
charge from the wolvesVhoJsought to devour it. 

xviii Introduction, 

He saw the mayor, and told him, " If you in- 
vade the sanctuary of the home of Bernadette, 
to take her forcibly away, you must first pass 
over my body." Glorious recollection for the 
writer that he had the great privilege of en- 
joying the society of this holy servant of God, 
who has since passed away to his eternal re- 
ward in the kingdom where the Immaculate 
Mother of God sits beside Her Divine Son for 
all eternity. 

The barriers w^ere still around the precincts 
of the grotto, when one day a gentleman ap- 
proached, and attempted to push his way 
through. He was accosted by a police-officer — 
I use the name police-officer as better under- 
stood than the French name, gendarmerie — who 
asked his name. "My name," said the stranger, 
"is Louis Veuillot." The talented editor of 
the Paris Univers soon had a passage made 
for him. Where in France is not that name 
respected and feared ? Whilst the alter- 
cation was going on at the barrier, a lady 
passed through, and, whilst kneeling at the 
grotto, ofifering up her petitions to the Mother 
of Mercy, an officer approached her and told 
her she must not pray there. He asked her 
name, so that he could have her cited before 

Introduction. xix 

the mayor. " I am," she answered, " the 
wife of Admiral Bruat, and governess to the 
Prince Imperial." It is needless to add that 
Louis Veuillot and Madame Bruat were 
allowed to finish their devotions. 

Whilst all this manoeuvring on the part of 
the government officials was going on, there 
lay in the house of Jean Bouhohorts, at 
Lourdes, a little boy labouring in the agonies 
of death. The child's eyes were already 
glazed, and his breathing was hardly per- 
ceptible. Madame Ducouts, a good neigh- 
bour, stood beside the crib of the dying boy 
making a shroud to enwrap his body pre- 
vious to its burial. The mother of the boy, 
absorbed in the grief which alone a mother 
can experience, would not leave the room 
at the request of Madame Ducouts. Madame 
Bouhohorts seized the boy, enveloped him in 
her apron, and declared her intention of bring- 
ing him to the grotto, and bathing him in the 
water. " Croisine," said her husband, " if our 
Justin is not dead, you wiU surely kill him." 
" What matter," answered the wife, " whether 
he dies here or at the grotto ? Let me go to 
implore the help of the Mother of God." 
She left the house, and ran to the grotto. 



When the crowd saw her approach, they 
thought that she was out of her mind. Reach- 
ing the grotto, she threw herself on her knees, 
and laid her petition at the feet of Mary. Full 
of faith, she plunged her boy into the water, 
where she immersed the seemingly lifeless 
corpse for the space of fifteen minutes. The 
people were horrified at the woman's con- 
duct. She took the ^hild out of the water, 
put him again into her apron, and hastened 
home. When her husband saw the child, he 
said, " You see he is dead, he is frozen." The 
rigidity of the child's limbs justified the father's 
exclamation. Croisine put the boy into his 
crib and covered him with clothes. After a 
time she leant down over the crib and had the 
inexpressible satisfaction of noticing him 
breathe. Two days afterwards the young boy, 
who from his debility never was known to 
walk, was seen rimning about the streets of 
Lourdes 1 Again, Louis Bourriette, whilst work- 
ing in a quarry, met with an accident which 
caused him to lose the sight of one eye. The 
best medical skill available was had recourse 
to, in the hope of getting relief, but not 
alone were the doctors powerless to restore 
the sight of the injured eye, their efforts 

Introduction. xxi 

were unable to retain the sight of the other 
one. Scarcely able to distinguish night from 
day, Bourriette mustered resolution to send 
his daughter for some of the water from the 
grotto, which he no sooner applied to his 
eyes than the sight was instantly restored. 
Going out into the town, he met Dr. Dozous 
walking along the street. He accosted the 
doctor, and declared that his sight was miracu- 
lously restored through the intercession of the 
Blessed Virgin, and the use of the waters of 
the grotto. Dr. Dozous examined the man's 
eyes and tested their visual powers. Having 
had Bourriette for some time as a patient, he 
openly declared, amidst a crowd of people who 
had gathered around, that no human agency 
could have eflFected such a cure, and he felt 
compelled to admit the fact of the cure being 

The authorities still remained obdurate, and 
would not remove the barriers placed around the 
grotto. His Grace the Archbishop of Auch, 
and some other eminent Catholics, went as a 
deputation to the Emperor Napoleon, then 
staying at Biarritz for the benefit of sea-bath- 
ing, and having laid all the known particulars 
about the apparitions at Lourdes before the 

xxii Introdtiction. 

Emperor, the latter telegraphed to the authori- 
ties at Lourdes to withdraw from the pre- 
cincts of the grotto, and remove all obstructions 
which they had placed in the way of the people 
visiting the sacred shrine. Miracles continued 
to be almost of daily occurrence ; and as it was 
in the early days of Our Lady's Blessed Shrine 
at Lourdes, so is it to-day. 

The time at length arrived when the bishop 
of the diocese took steps to show how much of 
truth there was in the wonderful occurrences 
taking place at Lourdes. For this purpose 
• his lordship issued a pastoral, in which he made 
known his desire that a commission of inquiry 
should investigate all matters connected with 
the grotto. His lordship said, " Three classes of 
persons have appealed to our decision, but 
each with different views. First, there are 
those who, refusing all examinations, see 
nothing in the events at the grotto and in 
the cures attributed to the waters of the 
fountain but superstition, trickery, and fraud. 
It is evident that we cannot adopt the 
opinions of such persons d priori or 
without serious examination. Their journals 
at once raised the cry of superstition, impos- 
ture, and bad faith ; they aflSirmed that the 

Introduction. xxiii 

occurrences at the grotto had their origin in 
sordid interest and culpable cupidity, and thus 
have wounded the moral sense of our Christian 
population. To deny everything, to throw 
suspicion on the best intentions, is, we allow, 
a very easy way to get rid of difficulties. The 
denial of all supemat^^al action is but the 
revival of a superannuated school, which would 
end in the abjuration of the Christian religion, 
and lead men to follow in the wheel-ruts of the 
infidel philosophy of the last century. We 
Catholics cannot take counsel with those who 
deny to the Almighty the power of excep- 
tional interference with the general laws which 
He has established for the government of the 
world — the work of His own hands, nor can 
we enter into discussion with them upon the 
supernatural character of particular facts, in- 
asmuch as, beforehand, they proclaim the 
impossibility of the supernatural altogether. 
Does this mean that we refuse a full, sincere, 
conscientious, and enlightened discussion of 
these events ? Certainly not. We desire it 
with all our energy. We wish that these events 
should be submitted to the severest rules of 
examination which sound philosophy admits ; 
and in order to pronounce whether these 

xxiv Introduction. 

occurrences are supernatural and divine, we 
desire that men specially versed in the science 
of mystic theology, of medicine, physics, 
chemistry, and geology, shall be summoned to 
their investigation, and we desire, in order to 
ascertain the truth, that no means of science 
and learning shall be omitted." 

This commission, so carefully selected, com- 
menced their labours on the 17th of March, 
1858, at Lourdes, under the presidency of the 
arch-priest. Canon Nogare. After a long and 
searching scrutiny into the events at the grotto 
of Massabielle, all the witnesses being examined 
under the obligations of an oath, they made 
their report to the bishop, in which they 
say : — " Of the thirty extraordinary cures 
examined, six were deemed capable of a na- 
tural explanation ; nine most probably super- 
natural, but yet possible under the influence 
of some unknown force of nature ; fifteen 
declared to be absolutely miraculous, and 
perfectly impossible except through the 
direct intervention of God." The bishop 
had this report laid before him. He did not 
immediately take action upon it, but allowed 
three years to pass away before returning to 
the subject, when he ordered the commis- 

Introduction. xxv 

sioners to re-assemble, and to visit each of the 
fifteen cases which they had pronounced "mi- 
raculous," to see if the cures were of a 
permanent character. All the persons were 
still found healthy, for they had had no return 
of their maladies. 

His lordship, feeling himself justified in 
speaking authoritatively on the question at 
issue, sent forth a pastoral letter, dated the 
18th January, 1862, in which he said : " We 
pronounce that Mary Immaculate, Mother of 
God, did really appear to Bemadette Sou- 
birous on the 11th of February, 1858, and 
on the following days, to the number of 
eighteen times, at the grotto of Massabielle, 
near the city of Lourdes ; and that this appa- 
rition possesses all the characters of truth, 
and that the faithful are justified in believing 
it with certainty. "We humbly submit this our 
judgment to the judgment of the Sovereign 
PontiflP, who is charged with the government 
of the Universal Church." The Holy Father, 
in a Bull issued on the 4th of September, 1869, 
confirmed the decision of the Bishop of Tarbes. 
On the 8th of December his lordship the 
Bishop of Tarbes canonically established a 
confraternity in honour of the Immaculate 

xxvi Introduction. 

Conception, and on the 14th of February, 1873, 
the Holy Father raised this sodality to an 
arch-confraternity, which he enriched with 
many special indulgences, one of which is that 
* any person visiting the church of Our Lady at 
Lourdes, once a year, gains 200 days' indul- 
gence, which can be used as suflFrages for the 
souls in purgatory. 

In 1864 his lordship the Bishop of Tarbes 
laid the foundation-stone of the basilica of 
N6tre Dame de Lourdes in the presence of a 
vast multitude of people. 

The present appearance of the basilica and 
grotto will be found very imperfectly described 
in the following pages. I had intended to 
give here some interesting particulars of the 
miraculous occurrences at Lourdes in the latter 
part of August and September, but must 
defer those to Chapter IX. 

I now leave the work to the kind consi- 
deration of my readers, humbly asking them to 
overlook the many shortcomings they will find 
in its pages. 



Liverpool to Bordeaux. — Interesting Ceremony at the 
Cathedral. — Bordeaux to Tarbes. — ^Tarbes to St. P6. 
— Calumny on the Sainte-Peans. 

It might be deemed presumptuous in the 
writer to give a detailed narrative of his 
travels in sunnj France, but his object in visit- 
ing that country was that he might pay his 
loving respects to the Blessed Virgin at the 
privileged shrine of Lourdes, where, through 
her great intercession, so many miraculous 
manifestations of the power of God are being 
almost daily made. In these days of rapid 
travelling hardly a spot exists which has not 
been explored and described ; but, as scarcely 
any two travellers see the same object from 
the same point of view, I hope to make my 
impressions of what I saw and heard during 
my sojourn in France as interesting as possible. 

28 A Month at Lourdes. 

Guide-books are at the service of all who 
leave their own country for foreign lands ; 
but I must confess that as far as Catholics are 
concerned, Murray and others are not re- 
liable, and I shall have occasion to notice some 
of the errors into which some of those guides (?) 
have — I hope unintentionally — fallen. 

As many of my countrymen are visitors 
at Lourdes, and as others, no doubt, will 
follow, it may interest those who contemplate 
a visit if I point out the best and shortest 
way to reach that most interesting and highly 
favoured place. For this purpose I shall give 
my narrative the form of a diary, and by this 
means hope to prevent the confusion which 
otherwise might arise in my description of 
ceremonies which, although in many particulars 
similar, took place under diflferent auspices and 
on different occasions. One word more per- 
sonal to myself. I prefer giving my name, so 
that I may be held responsible for any state- 
ments which I shall have to give, and not from 
any spirit of egotism. 

July 25th. — Left the river Mersey at 7 
p.m., by the Pacific Company's mail steamship 
Sorato* in company with a fair number of 

* See Appendix. 

A Month at Lourdes. 29 

passengers, some bound for the west coast of 
America, some for Buenos Ayres, others for 
Spain, and not a few for Lourdes. Among the 
latter were some of the grandchildren of two of 
the most remarkable men who trod Irish soil 
during the past hundred years — O'Connell and 
Charles Bianconi. "With a fine evening and a 
noble ship, all was joyousness on board. Night 
coming on, the cabins were resorted to, and an 
early peep at the next day's sun was anticipated. 
But, alas for human hopes ! Very few of the 
happy passengers were to be seen on deck next 
day. That terrible scourge, the mal de mer, 
had paid a visit to the pillows of many on 
board, and as a consequence few of the voy- 
agers could venture on deck the following day. 

July 26th. — "With fine weather, we had a 
good view of the rock-bound coast of Cardigan- 
shire, and at 8 p.m. we were ofi* the Land's 
End, coast of Cornwall, the gallant barque 
skimming the waves, scarcely making the least 
uncomfortable motion. 

July 27th. — In the forenoon entered the 
dreaded Bay of Biscay, but the water was as 
smooth as a millpond. How dififerent from its 
angry state when poor G. V. Brooke spoke his 
last few words ere the ill-fated London took 

30 A Month at Lourdes. 

that brilliant Irishman to the bottom of the 
sea; or later, when her Majesty's war-ship 
Captain was, along with the hundreds she had 
on board, engulphed beneath its waters. After 
passing through the bay, we espied the Goto- 
paxiy belonging to the Pacific Company, home- 
ward bound from Valparaiso, with the mails 
and passengers from the several ports on the 
Pacific coast. We stopped to exchange our 
Liverpool pilot. Not the least pleasing inci- 
dent of this day was the witnessing of the 
glorious orb of day taking leave of us in all its 
added splendour, to seek repose in the bosom 
of the mighty Atlantic. As the sun hid him- 
self from us in the west, the pale clear light of 
the moon shone out to welcome us to the 
shores of chivalrous France. 

July 28th. — At 2 a.m. dropped our anchor 
in the Garonne. There we lay till 6 a.m., when 
we tripped our anchor and steamed to Pauillac, 
a distance of some 35 miles up the river 
towards Bordeaux, where we were landed at 
10 a.m., the Sorato not going any higher up 
the Garonne. We left Pauillac in a river 
steamer, and, after a pleasant sail, landed at the 
quay at Bordeaux at 2 p.m. ; thus making the 
passage from Liverpool to Bordeaux — 650 

A Month at Lourdes. 31 

miles — in 60 hours, deducting time lost in 
stoppages. Bordeaux is a fine city, having 
some noble buildings and spacious squares, and 
umbrageous boulevards. It is the second city 
in France, and its shipping exceeds that of 
any other French port. Had time permitted, 
a day could be well employed in visiting 
some of the many interesting sights which 
are to be found in Bordeaux. The magnificent 
cathedral of St. Andr^ will repay the visitor 
for his trouble in going to see its many inter- 
esting objects. This cathedral is specially 
interesting to Enghsh travellers, as having been 
erected by their progenitors, when Bordeaux 
was in the hands of the English, who held it 
for three hundred years. Richard II. was 
christened in St. Andre's, and the marriage 
ceremony of Louis XIII. of Spain to Anne of 
Austria, in 1615, was celebrated before its 
high altar. The church of St. Michel's is 
richly adorned with sculptures and paintings by 
the old masters, and has a gorgeously decorated 
interior. Adjoining the church is an octagonal 
tower 403 feet high, from the top of which a 
grand view of the city and surrounding country 
can be had. There are few finer sights to be 
had than that which the bridge afibrds, as you 

32 A Month at Lourdes. 

cross the Gaxonne. The church of St. Severn 
is a most interesting building, erected in the 
fifth, and added to in after centuries. There are 
other objects in the church worth inspecting, 
among them a bas-relief of Clement V., who, 
before being raised to the papal , dignity, was 
Archbishop of Bordeaux, ofi'ering up the Holy 
Sacrifice. The Theatre, one of the finest in 
Europe, and in which the Government held their 
deliberations when driven out of Tours in 1870, 
is really a noble structure. The Museum, with its 
sculptures and paintings, and the Bourse, must 
not be passed over without a visit. The Botanic 
Gardens are really deserving of notice, the more 
especially so, as the omnibus fares are reason- 
able, and the route so beautiful and interesting. 
Hotel accommodation is befitting the character 
of the second city in France — ^good tables, and 
reasonable charges. For persons making but a 
short stay, the Hdtel du Commerce fronting 
the church of N6tre Dame, will be found very 
handy from its central position. 

Jul}/ 29th. — Visited the church of Ndtre 
Dame, a large and beautifully decorated struc- 
ture. The carvings in stone upon the front 
entrance will well repay inspection. At 10 
a.m. attended High Mass in the cathedral of 

A Month at Lourdes. 33 

St. Andr^, where the ceremonies were carried 
out in an imposing manner. A procession of 
the priests and choristers went round the 
church singing hymns, some of the clergymen 
playing upon brass instruments, whilst the 
choir and organ gave the alternate verses iii a 
solemn manner. The music was Gregorian, 
and from the numerous voices of the priests, 
choristers, and congregation, the lofty roof was 
made to resound with heavenly melody. There 
is a clock-tower attached to the cathedral, 
having a gilded statue of St. Andr^ on its sum- 
mit. Visitors would do well to ascend to the 
plsttform of this tower, from which lofty posi- 
tion a splendid view is had of the city, its 
churches, palaces, parks, and bridges, as well 
as a good glance at the wine-fields of Medoc 
and Charente. After dinner, left Bordeaux 
for Tarbes, 154 miles distant. The country, 
after leaving Bordeaux, is a perfect level for 
nearly one hundred miles ; and from the sandy 
nature of the soil, it would appear that at one 
period the sea must have covered its surface. 
A pine forest, in which wolves and bears are 
said to exist, covers the ground, and several of 
the trees are tapped for the purpose of ex- 
tracting resin from them. The railway, for 


34 A Month at Lourdes. 

the distance named, neither goes under nor 
over a bridge, so level is the country. Except- 
ing at a few woodmen^s huts, inhabitants 
are not many in the forest. After passing 
Morceaux, the country becomes more interest- 
ing. Large tracts are covered with maize, the 
tall stems of which, of a bright green, and 
capped with flowers, give the fields a very 
beautiful appearance. Luxurious fields of po- 
tatoes, whose various coloured blossoms enliven 
the scene, testify to the absence of the dreaded 
^' beetle." The corn crops are gathered into 
the farmyards,, and the numerous fruit trees 
and vine plants bear their fair share of the 
luscious products. Arrived at Tarbes, we found 
the town full of soldiers, they having been con- 
centrated there for summer drill and rifle 
practice. This town is the chief dep6t for the 
training of the French cavalry, and very large 
studs of horses are kept there. Tarbes is the 
chief residence of his lordship the bishop of 
the diocese in which Lourdes is situated. It* 
is a very handsomely situated town, close to 
the foot of the Pyrenees ; and persons desirous 
of visiting the fashionable baths and pleasant 
town of Bagneres-de-Bigorre, can break their 
journey at Tarbes, from which they can reach 

A Month at Lourdes. 35 

the former place in an hour. On their way 
they have a good view of the lofty Pic du Midi 
{11,500 feet), and also the beautiful valleys 
through which the rivers Adour and Gave pur- 
sue their meandering courses towards the sea. 

July 30th. — Left Tarbes for Lourdes at 
7 a.m., where we should have arrived at 8 a.m.; 
but, owing to an oversight, we were carried 
past the station to Saint P^, a distance of nine 
miles further towards Pau. Although this was 
to some extent a disappointment, it proved 
a very pleasing incident in our journey. Saint 
P^ is a village situated on the right bank of 
the foaming Gave, and is surrounded nearly on 
all sides with verdure-clad hills, some of whose 
tops are covered with perpetual snow. The 
place is remarkable, in that it possesses a 
very extensive diocesan seminary, in which 
260 students are located, for whose instruc- 
tion and guidance there are sixty resident 
priests. At the time of our visit there was 
a clergyman superintending the erection of a 
theatre in the playground, and several groups 
of young men were conning their parts in 
the drama under the shades of the tall 
and wide-spreading walnut trees surrounding 
the open space, whilst others were practising 


36 A Month at Lourdes. 

the choruses incidental to the performances 
which in a few days were to take place, as 
vacation time was close at hand. Saint P6 
must have been at one time a thriving town* 
It has a large square, surrounded by a colon- 
nade, in which business was transacted, and 
the politics of the day discussed by the city 
fathers, whose heads now lie mouldering in the 
neatly kept little cemetery. In the centre of 
the square is a representation of the Sacrifice 
on Calvary. The town is now principally in- 
habited by nailers, and stocking and linen 
weavers. For the first time in my life, I saw 
yam being spun from the distafi^, at which 
several old women were employed, as they sat 
in friendly chat at their doors. I examined 
some of the yam, and not being altogether un- 
acquainted with the article, I must say 
that the thread spun by this primitive con- 
trivance was of a very fine description, and 
of a perfectly uniform character. The village 
hostehy prepared a good dinner for me, my 
wife, and a clerical friend from Kildare. After 
partaking of it we left the town, having 
spent five pleasant hours in its rustic streets. 
I must notice one of those slanders which the 
compiler of Murray's Hand-Book, and to which 

A Month at Lourdes. 37 

I have already referred, has tried to fasten 
upon the residents of Saint P^. He says 
that " the place is chiefly inhabited by beg- 
gars." I assert, in justice to the simple and 
industrious inhabitants of this Catholic village, 
that although I and my party traversed all its 
streets during the five hours we spent there, 
not a single individual solicited an alms from 
us. The French are a keen, observing race, 
and, from the foolish idea which they possess 
of English wealth, some of them are rather 
importunate in pressing their claims upon the 
bounty of travellers who hail from the golden 
land ; nevertheless, the fact is as I state, and 
I make Mr. Murray a present of his gratuitous 
misrepresentation of the people, who, ignorant 
of his charge, can be courteous and obliging to 
strangers without playing the part of whining 
mendicants. I fear that in this instance, as in 
others, I shall have occasion to notice that the 
religion of the people is not acceptable to their 

38 , A Month at Lourdes. 


Lourdes. — Wellington and Napoleon. — The Churcli of 
'StixQ Dame de Lourdes. — Presents from all Nations. 
—The Irish Lamp.— Touching Inscriptions in the 

July 30th. — The glorious sun has tipped the 
points of the mountains with his golden rays 
as I wend my way to the church and grotta 
of Our Lady of Lourdes. Early as is the 
hour — 5 a.m. — crowds are going to and re- 
turning from the grotto. As publications, 
easily procurable in Great Britain and Ireland, 
are before the public, I will not stop here to 
recount all the occurrences which took place 
at Lourdes during the eighteen days on 
which the Blessed Virgin appeared to the 
little shepherdess, Bernadette Soubirous. It 
will suffice to say that Bernadette was the 
daughter of an humble miller, whose neces- 
sities caused his daughter to go along with 
other children to gather firewood in the 
vicinity of the rocks along the Gave, and that 
on the 11th of February, 1858, whilst so 
employed, the Mother of God appeared to and 
conversed with her. , How Bernadette's con- 
stancy was tried by the cautious prudence of 

A Month at Lourdes. 39 

the cur^ and the bishop of the diocese, how 
her parents were annoyed by the intrigues of 
the local government authorities, and how the 
apparitions were finally admitted — ^all these 
matters are, as I have said, of ready access to 
all who may feel an interest in studying the 
books published. The Holy Father, by his 
Brief of the 4th of September, 1869, raised 
the sodality of the Immaculate Conception at 
Lourdes to an arch-confraternity, and the 
churches of the crypt and basilique of Nfitre 
Dame were erected ; hundreds of thousands of 
pious souls have flocked hither to gain spiritual 
and bodily comforts. As the basilique of N6tre 
Dame at Lourdes is a church most worthily 
erected for the glory of God and the honour of 
Our Blessed Lady, it is fitting that I should 
say something of its many beauties and rich 
adornments ; but perhaps I should first say a 
few words about Lourdes itself before going 
any further in my narrative. Lourdes, then, 
is a town in which stirring scenes were enacted 
during the days of the Crusaders, and, later 
still, in the wars of the nineteenth century, under 
the Iron Duke. Wellington had his quarters 
here for a time when on his way to Spain, and 
early in this century the French had Lord 

40 A Month at Lourdes. 

Elgin a prisoner in its fortress. The fortress 
still stands sentinel over the valleys and passes 
of the Gave and the Lavedan ; but, beyond a 
few soldiers who look after its proper keeping, 
no troops are now stationed there. Lourdes 
is 170 miles distance from Bordeaux — the 
nearest route for persons leaving England ; 
and travellers need be under no apprehension 
of not finding sufficient hotel accommodation, 
good and reasonable, and honestly conducted, 
at Lourdes. The beautiful valley of the Gave 
is peculiarly appropriate for inspiring the most 
devotional feelings. The ever-murmuring 
music of the river, as it tumbles over its rocky 
bed, the quantity and variety of the trees 
growing around, the lofty Pyr^n^es standing, in 
their towering height, like sentinels to guard 
the peaceful scene — all go to form an enchant- 
ing tout ensemble not easily to be met with, 
and drew from an enlightened Protestant visitor 
the expression, " I must say that if the Virgin 
appeared here she showed a rich appreciation 
for the beautiful in nature." The basilique 
stands upon the left bank of the Gave, its 
lofty spire is 300 feet above the level of the 
river. The style of the church is a mixture of 
the Roman and Grecian modes of architecture. 

A Month at Lourdds. 41 

All that the skilful artist who designed the 
sacred structure could do in the space at his 
disposal has been done, and few of our 
modern churches can compare favourably 
with this noble pile. The basiKque stands 
over the beautiful chapel of the crypt, and, 
externally viewed, the whole appears but one 
church. The crypt chapel is a very neatly con- 
structed building ; its many columns rendered 
necessary by the superincumbent church, give 
it quite an interesting appearance. It has 
five chapels in which the Holy Sacrifice is daily 
offered upon their altars. Immediately beneath 
the crypt is the grotto wherein Our Blessed Lady 
appeared to the little girl, and in the opening 
of the rock, a sort of natural niche, where she 
stood, there is now placed a marble statue, life- 
size, of exquisite workmanship in the art of 
sculpture. This statue is the gift of two 
pious sisters of Lyons — ^the Madlles. Lacour. 
The grotto has a railing placed before it, but 
the gate is left open during the day for 
visitors to go inside. Day and night hundreds 
of wax candles, the votive offerings of the 
faithful, burn before the sacred shrine, and 
kneeling crowds of devotees throng the neatly 
arranged space between the grotto and the 

42 A Month at Lourdes. 

river. Adjoining the grotto are baths for 
both sexes, supplied with water from the 
miraculous fountain. No charge is made for 
the use of the baths, neither is any money 
taken for the water given to visitors. I men- 
tion this because, since I returned from 
Lourdes, I saw it stated in a public journal, 
that the priests at Lourdes were making an 
article of commerce of the water. Outside the 
grotto there is a rustic pulpit, which is fre- 
quently used by clergymen to preach to the 
pilgrims whom they accompany from home to 
Lourdes. That the church and grotto might 
not be encroached upon, his lordship the 
Bishop of Tarbes has secured a large tract 
of land surrounding the sacred spot. Ascend- 
ing the steep hill which separates the grotto 
from the basilique, we get upon the platform 
upon which the portico of the church stands, 
and, looking through the lofty centre doorway, 
the interior of the church presents to the view 
a scene of the most surpassing grandeur and 
loveliness. Prom floor to lofty ceiling — 150 
feet high — from every coign of vantage flags 
and banners are depending, rich in all the 
materials of textile fabrics, displayii^g the 
various hues of the rainbow in their golden 

A Month at Lourdes. 43 

and silver emblazonments. Most of the na- 
tionalities of the Christian world have their 
appropriate ensigns floating under the spacious 
roof of Notre Dame de Lourdes. It would 
be deemed incredible were I to saj how much 
wealth was devoted to the production of the 
flags. As an instance, the splendid flag from 
the Catholics of the United States of America, 
presented in 1873, cost $6,000. Beautiful 
as this flag is, many more in the church far 
exceed it in costliness. Amongst the nations 
which paid homage to Our Lady of Lourdes, 
Ireland, ever faithful and devoted to the 
Blessed Mother of God, holds her proper 
place. Thanks to the pious Catholics of the 
diocese of Clonfert, the flag of Ireland proudly 
bears itself aloft in the gilded throng, in all 
the glory of emerald sheen and brilliant gold- 
No flag in the church so soon rivets attention 
as the one from Clonfert. Made of green 
silk, on one side enwreathed with golden 
shamrocks, the " Harp of old Ireland" holds 
its honoured place, whilst on the obverse, 
similarly surrounded, stands a faithful repre- 
sentation of one of the crosses at Monasterboice. 
At the top of the flag is the word " Clonfert," 
and at the bottom, " Irlande." The beautiful 

44 A Month at Lourdes. 

flags brought to Lourdes by Father O'Dowd 
and his fellow-pilgrims, representing the Catholic 
associations of Canada, in green and gold, and 
the brilliant flag of Maryland, in all its striking 
colours in stars and stripes, are placed within 
the sanctuary. Rich and rare as are the 
numerous flags, their cost bears but slight com- 
parison to the other votive ofiferings displayed 
around the interior of the basilique and upon 
its altars. Here are to be seen precious gems, 
the once coveted adornments of their pos- 
sessors ; stars and other decorations, which 
Emperors and Kings had placed upon the 
breasts of warriors and statesmen ; jewel- 
hilted swords, now laid in peaceful repose, 
the keen edges of which opened the way to 
fame and honour to the men who bore them 
in the deadly combat ; the golden mitres of 
departed prelates, and the many costly articles 
of gold which once were used at the altar ; 
innumerable heart-shaped lockets of gold and 
silver, in each of which is enclosed some pious 
petition to the " Comfortress of the Afflicted'' 
— these stud the walls of the church and the 
several chapels, like so many brilliant stars in 
the firmament. In a niche immediately over, 
and belonging to the tabernacle is placed a 

A Month at Lourdes. . 45 

casket containing five precious jewels, valued 
at £3,000, the munificent gift of the Duke of 
Orleans. Wonderful as is the charity to and 
love for the Temple of the Lord, as shown by 
these costly ofiferings, there are not want- 
ing others which, in their touching simplicity, 
appeal strongly to the souls of the onlookers. 
Here in one of the chapels is a bridal wreath 
of flowers, of which the young bride despoiled 
her brow, that she might, even in this humble 
manner, pay homage to Her whose com- 
passion for the family at Canaan, at the wed- 
ding feast, induced her Divine Son to work 
His first miracle. A poor sea-tossed mariner, 
thankful for mercies vouchsafed to him, having 
neither gold nor silver to spare, presents the 
labours of his hands, and the very interesting 
model of his good ship '*St. Anne,*' as she 
approached the harbour of Bordeaux, finds a 
place within the church of Our Lady at 
Lourdes. The Holy Father, too, has remem- 
bered Lourdes. The most cherished souvenir 
at Lourdes is the gift of the Pope. At the 
time of the Papal Jubilee the Catholics of 
Spain sent a deputation to congratulate his 
Holiness, and brought as a present golden palms. 
In 1877 a pilgrimage came to Lourdes from 

46 ' A Month at Lourdes. 

Italy ; and the Holy Father, to show his vene- 
ration for the shrine of Our Lady, made the 
Italian pilgrims the bearers of the " palms" as 
his offering to Lourdes. The *' palms," I need 
hardly state, coming as they did from Catholic 
Spain, and for the Father of the Faithful, are a 
singularly and costly combination of the pre- 
cious metals and of brilliant gems. On high 
festivals they are placed upon the High Altar 
in the basilique. 

Ireland'sgif t of a silver lamp, richly burnished 
with gold, costing £300, holds the premier 
place in the sanctuary — immediately in front 
of the tabernacle. This beautiful specimen of 
Irish genius and workmanship stands out con- 
spicuous amongst its numerous attendant 
lamps, all of befitting grandeur for such a 
temple, but all immeasurably dwarfed into 
comparative insignificance by the splendour of 
the *' Lamp of the Children of Saint Patrick." 
The devices wrought upon the several compart- 
ments of the lamp clearly proclaim its origiiji. 
" The Harp of old Ireland," the Irish wolf- 
dog, the Celtic cross, St. Patrick, and other 
richly chased ornaments, lend added charms to 
this magnificent votive offering. " Erin's im- 
mortal Shamrock. " is profusely displayed upon 

A Month at Lourdes. 47 

this " Lamp of the Sanctuary." Here I find 
myself compelled to digress for a moment, 
whilst I endeavour to arouse the feelings of 
those patriotic and pious Catholics in Ireland, 
who aided the good Father Kinane of Tip- 
perary in placing the ** Lamp of Ireland" in 
the basilique of N6tre Dame de Lourdes. In 
the midst of shining lamps within the sanctuary, 
the ** Lamp of Ireland" seldom sheds its rays 
upon the scene ! How comes this neglect ? 
Surely the people who kept the lamp of 
Kildare's holy shrine burning for 1,000 years 
will not permit the Irish lamp at Lourdes to 
remain unlit. If no provision has been made 
for the supply of oil for the lamp, I hope my 
drawing attention to the fact above stated will 
cause this to be remedied. I cannot say that 
my experience of La Belle France, wherein 
Ireland is concerned, altogether pleases me. 
Two years ago, wlien travelling across the plains 
of Landen, I looked in vain for any monument 
to show that Sarsfield fought and died there for 
the honour of France, and when his heart'a 
blood was fast ebbing out on that ensanguined 
field. drew from him the expression, "Would 
that this was for Ireland." Again, when 
looking through the picture gallery of the 

48 A Month at Lourdes. 

Palace at Versailles, in which all the chief 
battles of Prance, from the earliest times to the 
day when tlie present ruler of Germany was 
proclaimed Emperor within its walls, are por- 
trayed, Irishmen are left out in the cold. Fon- 
tenoy — ^glorious for Irishmen's valour — is there 
displayed, but no sign on the broad expanse of 
canvas is given to inform the onlooker that an 
"Irish Brigade" took hand or part on that 
glorious conflict. 

In the eighteen chapels which are placed 
around the basilique are fixed slabs of marble 
divided into spaces, on which are inscribed the 
thankoflferings of the faithful who have had 
the privilege of visiting the shrine of Our Lady, 
or have gained graces through her intercession. 
I will give a few of these inscriptions : 

" Reconnaissance a Marie Souvenez-vous 

Sainte Mere, 


Du CoMTE Louth, 

"Amour et Reconnaissance 

D'UNE Irlandaise 


" Une MiiRE : Reconnaissance 
A. N. D. DE Lourdes, pour Une 
Conversion et de graces obtenue." 

A Month at Lourdes. 49 

" Je Dois a Marie Immacul^e 
La Conversion de Mon PIire." 

'• A Marie Immacul^e, Amour et Reconnaissance, 
Pour la graces bonne Mort tu elIiE 


A MA MiRE Bjen AlMi:E 
N. D. DE Lourdes, Eternelle Reconnaissance 
Marie Victor Henri Baldit, a fexfe 


DE Lourdes, et la famille Reconnaissante 


When it is remembered that eighteen chapels 
in the basilique and the five in the crypt 
chm-ch are all lined from the floor to the 
height of six feet with marble slabs, and have 
inscriptions prompted as above, the number 
of persons who have thus recorded favours 
received must be considerable. Persons from 
the most remote parts of the four quarters 
of the globe have testified thus the obligations 
they owe to the holy shrine of the most 
Blessed Mother of God. What other portion 
of the church will afibrd other suppliants the 
means of recording their thanks I cannot see, 
unless the expansive floor be utilised for this 

50 A Month at Lourdes. 


Grand Ceremonies in the Church. — ^Procession from 
Grotto to the Town. — A Perplexed Irishman. — Right 
Rev. Dr. Moreno, of Lower California : Escapes from 
his Pursuers. 

The high altar of the basilique is a very im- 
posing structure. It is enclosed on three of 
its sides by a lofty screen wrought in bronze, 
which is of elaborate workmanship. From the 
ceiling of the church depend a large number of 
chandeliers, each holding some fifty candles. 
The chandeliers, when they require to be re- 
plenished, are lowered by means of chains 
carried through the ceiling and worked from a 
fl6or above the same. The mode of light- 
ing these candles when in their lofty position " 
is an ingenious one. The candles in each 
chandelier are connected by a thread of 
gun-cotton, and a string hangs for a con- 
siderable distance down below the chandelier, 
having a connection with the strings referred 
to. The vergers, having a long wand upon 
which a waxlight is placed, touc|i this string, 
and instantaneously a thousand lights shoot 
into existence. To anyone who has witnessed 
the sudden display of light thus given, it will 

A Month at Lourdes. 51 

be a long time before its effects fade from his 
memory. The chm*ch is supplied with two 
organs, one of which is placed behind the high 
altar, and is generally used at Mass and at 
Vespers. The other stands in the organ loft 
over the porch at the entrance to the building. 
This latter is a most powerful instrument, 
and is only used on occasion of high festivals. 
Its magnificent appearance at the distant end of 
the church adds considerably to the beauty of 
the interior of the sacred edifice. As already 
stated, the basilique of N6tre Dame de Lourdes 
is placed on a spur of the Pyrenean range, and 
viewed from the opposite side of the Gave 
forms a pleasing object in the landscape. The 
hills rise sharply upon its southern side to a 
considerable distance. On one of the hills 
there is built a granite altar of a very substan- 
tial character, and having upon the right hand 
a lofty Crucifix, the Figure upon which is 
over twelve feet high. Far away up the moun- 
tain, standing upon a broad plateau, is placed 
another cross, which, from its eminent position, 
is visible for leagues around. The altar and 
crosses are the gifts of the pious Celts of 
Bretagny, who charged themselves with the cost 
of their erection, and left them as a souvenir of 


52 A Month at Lourdes. 

their pilgrimage to Lonrdes in 1875. Tlie 
Priests in chaise of the mission at Lonrdes in- 
tend to make this mountain a calrary as soon 
as their means enable them to do so. At 
present their hands are tied for want of funds. 
Besides this, the numerous works now being^ 
carried on by the Fathers f ullj absorb their 
time. They hare just completed the building 
of a house for the use of the bishop of the 
liocese, and also a place of residence for all 
other bishops who may yisit Lourdes. The- 
house stands in beautifully laid out grounds. 
Between the bishop's house and the basilique^ 
there is approaching completion a large dwell- 
ing for the accommodation of the fourteen? 
clergymen attached to the church and grotto. 
There is also a large hospice being built^ 
which will soon be ready to receive pilgrims. 
This building will be an acceptable residence 
for the many humble devotees who make 
an effort to visit the grotto of Our Lady 
The hospice will be under the loving care of 
the good Sisters of the Seven Dolours, who will 
be able to supply accommodation to over two 
hundred persons during their stay at Lourdes 
Another good work is also in hand. The 
Priests arc building a refectory alongside the 

A Month at LiOurdes. 53 

river, where persons who come for a day to 
Lourdes can have then- food copked and served 
up to them free of all charges. Besides all 
these undertakings, the Fathers are engaged in 
building a bridge at tne junction of the Gave 
and the Merlasse, which, when completed, 
will make a straight avenue from the railway 
istation to the basilique and grotto, whereby 
the distance will be much less from the former 
to the latter than is now the case, and the 
necessity of going into the town to reach the 
church will be avoided. The Sisters of the 
Capuchin Order are also 'having a handsome 
convent and conventual church erected. All 
these undertakings give employment to a large 
number of tradesmen and labourers, and as 
there is a cessation of work at these undertak- 
ings on the Sunday, the example is having a 
good effect in causing other workmen to observe 
the day in a better manner than has hitherto 
been the case in this part of France. The visitor 
at Lourdes would do well to pay a visit to the 
convent of the Immaculate Conception, which 
, stands about a mile lower down on the banks of 
the river. In the grounds of this convent there 
is a representation of the Virgin Mother of 
God, wliich is of surpassing loveliness. It 

54 A Month at Lourdes. 

is painted in relief on an oaken plank, and 
imi3resses one as that of a life-size figure. It 
is almost impossible to \\evr this statue and 
not be persuaded that the Blessed Virgin is 
looking at you, and is about to address you, 
so realistic is the work of the artist. In thi» 
convent ladies visiting the grotto can find ac- 
commodation at reasonable charges. Imme- 
diately opposite the basilique there are two 
extensive conventual establishments : one 
belonging to the Benedictine, and the other to 
the Carmelite Order of Nuns. Lourdes proper 
has convents of the following Orders of Nuns : 
Little Sisters of the Poor, Poor Clares, Sisters 
of St. Vincent de Paul, Imma;Culate Concep- 
tion, Carmelites, and Benedictines, and large 
schools are taught by the Sisters who reside 

To-day a pilgrimage of 600 persons came- 
from Bezieres. The pilgrims were in charge of 
the Cure^ of Sainte Madeleine, who had several 
other Priests with him. Solemn Vespers- 
and Benediction was given at 2 p.m., and a 
sermon preached by the Cure. In the evening^ 
the pilgrims again assembled at the grotto, 
recited the rosary, and sang the Litany of the 
Blessed Virgin. The Cur6 once more preached,. 

A Month at Lourdes. 55 

using the rustic pulpit of the grotto for the 
purpose. His impassioned and fervent elo- 
quence made a wonderful' impression upon the 
vast assemblage congregated before the grotto. 
The shades of night were fast falling, the mur- 
murings of the fierce Gave were hushed into 
quietude by the earnest outpourings of the 
preacher, whose auditors showed by their feel- 
ings how deeply their souls were touched whilst 
the privileges of the Mother of God were 
descanted upon by the eloquent Cure. After 
the sermon the whole assemblage sang the 
Magnificat, and as the vast body of heavenly 
music resounded through the valley, no heart 
present could resist the impulse of grace 
thus brought homo to it. A torchlight pro- 
cession was now formed, and the pilgrims 
moved from the grotto towards Lourdes. 
Having reached the public square, the Mar/- 
mjicat was again sung, and a young clergyman 
stood up on a raised position, and delivered 
an address in fervid eloquence to the crowd, 
who, before dispersing to their respective lodg- 
ings, gave three hearty cheers for " The Pope," 
for " The Church," and for " France." Well, 
indeed, did the editor of the Journal de 
Lourdes express himself — " What would Vol- 

56 A Month at Lourdes. 

taire say to such proceedings in the public 
places of a town in France ? The people have 
torn down their former idols, for Our Gracious 
Mother of the Grotto has conquered all hearts." 
There was one thing which impressed itself 
forcibly upon my mind — namely, the beautiful 
harmony produced by the singing of the devo- 
tional hymns by the peasantry of France. 
Part-singing is taught in all the schools by the 
religious teachers, and the degree of perfection 
attained in psalmody by the people shows how 
carefully they have been trained. 

July 31st, — Heard Mass at the Basilique, 
the celebrant being the good Parish Priest of 
the town of Newbridge, Kildare, Ireland — 
Father Martin Nowlan. The rev. gentleman 
was one of my companions from Liverpool, and 
he left to-day for Paris. Our acquaintance 
w^as but of short duration, but it was long 
enough to show me that in Father Nowlan 
the *'01d Soggarth Aroon" is still to be 
found amongst the priests of the Catholic 
Church in Ireland. When Father Nowlan 
left me, I met another good Irishman in the 
person of James Talbot, of Clonmel, Tipperary. 
As the faith and devotion of the Irish CathoUcs 
found a true exemplar in my friend Talbot, a 

A Month at Lourdes. b7 

slight sketch of the man and his endeavours to 
reach Lourdes may not be uninteresting to 
my readers. James Talbot had an affliction 
which deprived him of the full use of his right 
^ide, and hearing of so many wonderful cures 
at the grotto at Lourdes, he resolved to make 
a visit to the Virgin's shrine at that distant 
place. A few friends supplemented his own 
scanty means, and this heroic confessor of the 
Faith of Ireland went upon his mission of hope. 
Taking passage from Waterford, he arrived at 
Bristol, thence to London, Newhaven, and 
across to Dieppe. Talbot found himself at 
length in Paris. Instead of taking the nearest 
route for Lourdes, he took the train for Tou- 
louse, mixing up the places in his mind. When 
he got to Toulouse, he endeavoured to find the 
grotto, and for this purpose spent the better 
part of two days in his fruitless search. On 
the second day he saw a Catholic priest, to 
whom he tried to make himself understood, but 
could not fully do so. This priest asked him if 
he was " Un Angleterre." Talbot's only French 
word, " Irlandaise," acted as a talismanic spell 
upon the feelings of the clergyman, and after a 
little more efibrt to understand each other, the 
priest finding that Lourdes, and not Toulouse, 

58 A Month at Loiirdes. 


was the Irislimau's destination, took him to the 
railway station, and sent him on his journey re- 
joicing. Arrived at Lourdes, he had no great 
difficulty in reaching the grotto, where he made 
the acquaintance of one of the best of Irishmen, 
and a true son of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Father 
Carton, S.J. This worthy and highly esteemed 
priest is not unknown, I believe, in Drogheda. 
and its neighbouring counties ; and when I 
state that as soon as he discovered my 
friend's impecunious position he charged him- 
seK with the cost of his maintenance whilst at 
Lourdes, and also provided him with the- 
means of reaching Liverpool on his way home to 
his native Clonmel, where he has safely arrived. 
All^who know Father Carton will say, ''It's 
just like him." I saw Talbot this morning,, 
at the grotto, and made his acquaintance. 
Hearing me converse in English with a lady 
from Calcutta he at once warmed to me. In. 
the afternoon I again saw my friend at the 
grotto : indeed, he was as mucli a part of that 
sacred spot during his stay as were the 
raihngs which enclosed it. This time he 
seemed to be labouring under some perturba- 
tion of spirits, the cause of which I soon found 
out. Whilst I was away, two men came to- 

A Monilt at Lourdes, 59- ■ 

the grotto, both of whom conversed together 
in the English language* These men inter- 
ested Talbot, who listened to their conversa- 
tion. One of them was an Irishman ; the 
other, his brother-in-law, was a Frenchman,, 
from Paris. The Irishman was dilating upon 
the powers of the Blessed Virgin, and recount- 
ing how graces had been conferred through her 
great intercession by pilgrims who had visited 
the shrine before which they stood. The 
Frenchman sneeringly spoke of the Mother of 
God, and pitied the credulity of those who 
believed in such stories. Talbot^s blood began 
to course rapidly tlirough his veins, and in 
utter grief he turned away from the grotto, 
lest his feelings of resentment might gain the 
mastery of his patience. It was whilst he 
was labouring under these feelings that I 
met him, and learned their cause. I said,. 
" Never mind him : it only shows his deplor- 
able want of faith.'' " True for you, sir," said 
he ; " but what vexed me most was that I . 
could not knock him down and kick him for 
falling. Two things only prevented me : I 
could not explain to the people why I did 
it, and the spot was too sacred to cause any 
turbulence in its precincts. I am sure liad 

€0 A Month at Loiirdes. 

I done so the Lord would forgive me." 
Whilst narrating his story to me his eyes flashed 
with fire, and were I that Frenchman, I would 
prefer meeting Talbot anywhere than in 
the neighbourhood of Slievenamon or. Galti- 
inore. Talbot being a staunch adherent to the 
principles taught by Father Matthew, I had no 
-chance of soothing his perturbed spirit by a 
^lass of the product of the generous vine. 
This evening, after another visit to the grotto, 
the pilgrims from Bezieres took their departure 
for their distant homes, after having edified 
all who witnessed the depth and sincerity of 
their two days' devotions at the shrine of 

August 1st. — This being the vigil of the 
^eat Feast of Portiuncula, large numbers 
flocked to the basilique to gain the indulgences 
attached to the feast. Monsignor Marincy, 
Bishop of Dulma and Vicar Apostolic of 
Brownesville, Texas, arrived at the grotto to- 
day. There was Benediction at two o'clock ; 
and a sermon by a Franciscan Father from 
Lyons. The preacher, who is the author of 
several works of a religious character, delivered 
a very eloquent discourse upon the Festival of 
Portiuncula, and on the merits of the sera- 

A Month at Lourdes. 61 

phic founder of the Franciscan Order. Many 
of the Franciscan Fathers from the neigh- 
bouring convents were at Lourdes during the 
day, and assisted in the confessionals. 

August 2nd. — Early at the basilique, where 
hundreds who had travelled overnight were 
assembled around the numerous confessionals. 
Masses commenced at five o'clock, and were 
continuously said up to eleven o'clock. The 
Right Rev. Dr. Marincy was a considerable 
time occupied in giving Holy Communion at the 
nine o'clock Mass. Sermon and Benediction 
again at 2 p.m. 'Although rain fell most of the 
day, it had very little eflfect upon the thousands 
who eagerly performed the prescribed devo- 
tions, and it was a remarkable feature in the 
attendance at the church that a great portion 
belonged to what the world calls the upper 

August 3rd. — To-day a noble confessor of 
the Faith appeared at Lourdes in the person 
of his Grace the Right Rev. Dr. Moreno, 
Bishop of Lower California, who came to 
return thanks to Our Lady of Lourdes for 
favours received through her intercession. Dr. 
Moreno had more regard for the honour of 
God than for the mandates of the Government 

(?2 A Month at Lourdes. 

of Lower California. They, not being able to 
bring the prelate over to their way of thinking, 
had the wickedness to lay their sacrilegious hands 
upon the Lord's anointed minister, and cast 
him into prison, from which, like another 
Peter, he was miraculously delivered. His lord- 
ship belong to the Carmelites, and to-day we 
had a great many of the same Order who had 
come to Lourdes from Tarbes, Bagneres de 
Bigorre, and other places, to honour so eminent 
a Bishop of the Church. His lordship is quite 
a young man, seeing the exalted position 
he has attained. At Lourdes he was the 
simplest amongst the pilgrims. Going down 
to the grotto and kneeling amongst the throng, 
this pious confessor performed his devotions in a 
childlike manner. Pull of faith, hope, and 
charity, the good bishop's appearance upon the 
cold floor of the Virgin's shrine was a source 
of edification to all who had the happiness to 
see him. 

August 4th. — His lordship. Dr. Moreno, said 
Mass at nine o'clock, and gave Holy Com- 
munion to a large number of persons. Vespers 
were sung at two o'clock pontifically, and 
solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament 
given by the Bishop. His lordship preached 

A Month at Lourdes. 63 

after Vespers to a large congregation, as I was 
informed, for after breakfast I left Lourdes 
for Pau, a city 24 miles to the south-west of 
the former town. 

Mj advice to visitors to Lourdes who intend 
making a lengthened stay there is to take a 
few short excursions to the many beautiful 
places situated at convenient distances ; for I 
found that the continual strain upon the senses 
by the daily and hourly scenes witnessed at the 
shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes is almost 
too overpowering to be borne without producing 
a degree of oppression which it is not well for 
one leaving the bustle and scramble of worldly 
existence to be constantly subjected to with 
safety. For this purpose I went to-day to 
Pau, passing in going my old friends at St. P^, 
and getting a glimpse of the beautiful Calvary 
of Monte Betharram, of which more anon. 
What I saw at Pau I must reserve for the 
next chapter. 

64 A Month at Lourdes. 


Visit to Pau. — The Chateau. — Abd-el-Kader. — Queen 
Isabella. — Beautiful Cemetery. — An En^iflish Confes- 
sor. — Return to Lourdes. — Solemn and interesting 
Ceremonials. — Brilliant Illuminations and Proces- 
sions. — Interview with the Cure Peyramale. 

Pau, the aucient capital of Navarre, is one of 
the most fashionable places of resort in France. 
It is now the chief town in the department des 
Basses Pyr^n^es, situated at an easy distance 
from Bayonne and the celebrated watering- 
places of Biarritz and St. Jean de Luz, and not 
too far from the mineral baths of Cauterets 
Barages and Bagneres-de-Bigorre. During the 
season there are from ten to twelve thousand 
visitors residing there, the greater number of 
whom come from England and America. Pau 
has many objects which must interest those 
visiting the place. Its ancient chateau, built 
in 1363, is a fine structure, and, since its 
restoration by Louis Philippe, is kept in good 
order. The tapestries to be seen in the ch&teau 
are amongst the most choice of any to be found 
in Prance ; in themselves they are worth a 
visit, and are all the more satisfactory in that 
the subjects are treated in a manner which 

A Month at Lourdes. 65 

cannot give any offence to the most fastidious. 
The room is shown in which Henry IV. was 
bom, and also the tortoise-shell cradle in which 
he was nursed. A very interesting collection 
of tables, vases, and statuary, made of beau- 
tifully variegated marbles, got from the ad- 
jacent quarries of the Pyrenees, is to be seen 
in the chateau. These objects are of exquisite 
workmanship and design. Indeed, the interior 
of the chateau may be said to be a combination 
of marbles not easily to be paralleled. Abd-el- 
Kader was a resident in the chateau for a 
considerable period, and its roof lately gave 
a shelter to Queen Isabella of Spain. The 
churches of St. Jacques and St. Martin are 
very fine erections, and will repay a visit to 
them. The Palais de Justice, the museum, 
and library are also not to be passed over 
without a call. The park and gardens are 
laid out with consummate taste and wonderful 
skill for effect. The view of the Pyrenean 
mountains and valleys from the park is per- 
haps the most exquisite to be seen in the 
whole range of scenery which the ever- 
varying points of observation in those regions 

I have always made it a point, when visiting 


66 A Month at Lourdes. 

strange places, to look in upon the " City of 
the Dead," for I hold that a good insight into 
the character of the people is to be had by 
seeing the mode in which they bury their dead. 
Prompted by this feeling, I paid a visit to the 
cemetery of Pau, and was highly gratified with 
what I saw therein. In a country where 
numerous descriptions of marbles abound, it is 
not surprising that the monuments erected over 
the graves are of the choicest description. Many 
bear the names of men who distinguished them- 
selves at the Malakoflf, Inkerman, Sevastopol, 
Castel Fidardo, and SoKerino, and some in 
earUer battles. The neatly tended tombs, 
upon which the rarest of flowers, of sunny 
France are piously cultivated, give to this City 
of the Dead the appearance of a richly-stocked 
flower-garden. Several neatly-constructed ora- 
tories, having beautiful altars, are to be found 
here. The number of ladies and gentlemen and 
young children whom I saw, with tiny watering- 
cans sprinkling the flowers and grassy beds, 
clearly show how afifectionately the memory of 
those who had gone into their houses of eternity 
are remembered. The depth of afiection which 
influenced such living caro must be great on 
the whole. Pau may well feel proud of its 

A Month at Lourdes. 67 

cemetery, and strangers visiting its well laid 
out grounds might well exclaim : 

" Ah I it were pleasant to the grave to go, 
K one were sure to be buried so." 

During the season horse-racing, fox-hunting, 
and polo matches are of weekly occurrence. 
Wolves, too, are put upon their mettle, and 
hears are made fair game to the sporting ladies 
and gentlemen who spend their time and money 
in this pleasant autumn residence. Persons 
who set a high value upon personal expenses 
had better not make a long stay in this city. 
In the church of the Jesuit Fathers, in the Rue 
de Montpensier, there is generally to be found 
a confessor who speaks the English language, 
and whose services are cheerfully given to the 
English-speaking Catholics who may be visitors 
at Pau. 

Having spent a very agreeable day, we took 
train for Lourdes, where we arrived in the 
evening. The railway from Lourdes to Pau 
runs alongside of the Gave, and scenes of sur- 
passing loveliness are presented to the traveller's 
view along the route. Great preparations were 
made to-day at Lourdes in order to worthily 
celebrate the Feast of the Perpetual Adoration 


68 A Month at Lowndes. 

of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the principal 
festival of the diocese of Tarbes, which was to 
be observed on the morrow. It need hardly 
be stated that this feast is highly venerated by 
the people of the diocese, many of whom, living 
far off in their mountain fastnesses, came into 
town in the evening to prepare themselves for 
obtaining the indulgences of the feast by ap- 
proaching the tribunal of penance. 

August 6tL — To-day was ushered in with, 
a brilliant sun shining ref ulgently in the heavens. 
The leafy bowers surrounding the church and 
grotto shone out in all their various tints of 
shade, made more beautiful by the refreshing 
showers of the previous day. The freshly 
mown hay, as it lay in its swards, distilled its 
richest perfumes, and the eglantine and honey- 
suckle lent their choicest odours to add to the 
offerings which nature presented on this joyous 
morning. Scarcely had the syren notes of the 
nightingale died away when the merry lark 
rose from his dewy bed to carol forth his 
matutinal hymn at heaven s gate. Even the 
lively grasshoppers made the earth's green 
carpet vocal with harmonious chirpings. With 
early dawn came the stalwart peasantry, 
accompanied by their female relatives, to- 

A Month at Lourdes. 69 

Our Lady's church. Nothing could be 
more picturesque than the appearance of the 
women. From the close proximity to Spain, 
many of the women have a tinge of Spanish 
features, which makes them all the more 
interesting to look at, in that they are no'' 
so darkly shaded as are their sisters of Castili 
or Andalusia. The dress of these females is 
calculated to give additional effect to their 
appearance. A sort of turban, formed by an 
ingenious manipulation of a silken handkerchief 
around their heads, has a very neat and tidy 
look, and shows that even now the fashions of 
the Moors are not obliterated. The younger 
portion of the females wear nicely arranged 
<3apulets, which, fastened upon their brows, are 
gracefully thrown over their shoulders, extend- 
ing down to the waist. As those capulets are 
of various colours, they have a very pleasing 
effect when seen amongst a crowd. 

Holy Mass commenced at five o'clock, and 
from that hour until noon each of the twenty- 
two altars was surrounded by a cordon of priests, 
all eagerly awaiting their opportunity to offer 
up the Holy Sacrifice. The white robes of the 
Dominicans, the brown dress of the Capuchin 
and Franciscan Fathers, the sombre garb of the 


70 A Month at Lourdes. 

Jesuits, and other coloured habits worn by the 
clergy, were very interesting. Whilst at the 
grotto in the morning I witnessed a very 
touching incident. A young woman, accom- 
panied by her mother and a young girl, came 
from the town to the grotto. The former 
woman was dressed in her bridal robes, 
wearing a wreath of orange blossoms upon her 
brow. She came to ask the help of Our 
Blessed Lady to keep her and her intended 
husband from all the snares of their enemies. 
She entered the railings which surround the 
grotto, and made her humble supplications; 
having done which, she retraced her steps to 
the parish church, and took her part in the 
ceremony which was to make her life happy. 
If the kindly expressed wishes of all who saw 
and admired her devotion could add to her 
welfare, that young voyager on the sea of life 
might feel herself assured of bright days. 

High Mass commenced at ten o'clock. The 
Right Rev. Dr. Moreno pontificated, and five 
attendant priests assisted. The gorgeous vest- 
ments worn by his lordship and the priests 
were the gift of the Empress Eugenie. At the 
High Mass a great number received Holy 
Communion, and indeed at all the Masses during 

A Month at Lourdes. 71 

the morning the altar rails were thronged with 
devout communicants. Immediately after the 
Bishop had concluded his Mass, the Blessed 
Sacrament was placed on the summit of the 
tabernacle, where it remained the whole of the 
afternoon up to the time for Vespers. The altar 
presented a strikingly grand eflfect Hundreds 
of wax candles were burning within the sanc- 
tuary ; the lamps were all lit, and a series of 
golden vine leaves hung in graceful festoons, 
which, in their beautiful shadings, as the sun s 
rays poured through the several stained-glass 
windows, gave an iris-like appearance to the 
scene. Pontifical Vespers began at seven p.m., 
the Bishop again officiating. Just as his lord- 
ship entered the church, dressed in his full 
pontificals, the innumerable candles through- 
out the lofty nave and the several chapels 
flashed into flame instantaneously, by means 
which I have already described. The grand 
organ sent forth its thrilling tones, and 
the numerous retinue of clergymen who fol- 
lowed his lordship within the rails of the 
sanctuary deployed to their places. The rich 
display of vestments, the streams of light 
reflected from the many precious gems on and 
around the altar, the jewelled monstrance in 


72 A Month at Lourdes. 

which the Blessed Sacrament was enclosed, 
the perfumed incense given out by the three 
crucibles, the noble appearance of the Bishop 
as he stood upon the platform of the altar 
holding the monstrance in his hands, and having 
his white mitre upon his brow, the glittering 
appearance of the hundreds of flags as the 
heated atmosphere of the basilique caused them 
to flutter upon their staffs, and the assemblage 
of bishops, priests and people, formed a coup 
d'odl which can never fade from the memory 
of those who were present, and which prompted 
an American gentleman, who has represented 
his government in an important position in 
France for the past fifteen years, to remark 
to me, " If there is any spot on earth near 
to heaven, this is it." The singing of the 
solemn chant composed by St. Gregory was 
grand and imposing. No one could mistake 
for a moment the union which existed between 
the hearts of the singers and the sentiments 
which they sung. When solemn benediction 
was over, a procession of several guilds, 
composed of women and men, with the 
clergy and bishops following, left the basilique 
for the grotto, singing hymns and spiritual 
canticles as they marched along. Each one in 

A Month at Lourdes. 73 

the procession carried a lighted candle, and 
each confraternity or guild bore before it a 
banner. As the processionists moved down 
from the church bj the zig-zag path along the 
side of the hill, the lights ever shifting through 
the trees and shrubs, rendered the scene, 
viewed from the lower ground, a very effective 
one. When the procession had reached the 
grotto, and had filled up the large space 
around, his lordship, still in his pontifical 
robes, recited the Litany of Loretto, the vast 
crowd making the responses. After the 
Litany, the *' Magnificat" was sung by all the 
assembly. The bishop then returned to the 
basilique, and the immense concourse of people 
dispersed to the various parts of the town 
wherein they were located, carrying their 
lighted tapers in their hands and singing sacred 
songs. I should mention that the Rev. P6re 
Ambrose, principal priest of the Carmelite 
church at Bagneres-de-Bigorre, preached a very 
able and eloquent sermon on the Blessed 
Eucharist, and on the glories of the Church 
Militant, Suffering, and Triumphant. 

August 6th. — To-day there were many 
lingering about the grotto and church, finding 
it hard to tear themselves away from so precious 

74 A Month at Lourdes. 

a spot. Dr. Moreno was early in the church, 
and celebrated the seven o'clock Mass at the 
high altar. The Right Rev. Dr. SeiTa, of 
Daulia, formerly Vicar Apostolic of Australia, 
came to-Viay to Lourdes from Spain. His 
lordship is a most venerable-looking prelate. 

August 7th. — ^The members of the Benedic- 
tine Commimity of Betharram had a visit to-day 
from their lordships Drs. Moreno and Serra, 
both of whom offered up the Holy Sacrifice 
before leaving for Betharram. As I was 
anxious to have an introduction to the venerable 
Monsignor Peyramale, the cur6 of St. Pierre's 
church, Lourdes, I called upon him. The 
venerable cur6 did not on that occasion show 
any signs of failing strength beyond what is 
incidental to a man approaching eighty years 
of age. I was hoping that his life might be 
spared to complete the second great work in 
which he had engaged — the erecting of a new 
church for the parish of Lourdes, dedicated to 
St. Peter. But human aspirations and hopes 
are very insignificant in the decrees of Him 
in whose hands are life and death. Within 
a short month after my speaking with Monsignor 
Peyramale, the cares and anxieties of this 
world were removed from his thoughts, and 

A Month at Lourdes. 75 

the kindly heart which had beaten in his manly 
bosom was laid in the tomb. Before saying 
anything more personal to the departed cur^, 
I will say a few words about the undertaking 
which absorbed his every thought — ^his church. 
The old church of St. Pierre at Lourdes stands 
in a very awkward situation at present. When 
in the eleventh century the venerable pile was 
erected, Lourdes, no doubt, was a far different 
place to what it is now. Surrounded with 
butchers' shambles, stalls for old and new 
clothes, and other wares, the nuisance created 
by the noise of the vendors is very distracting 
to the congregation worshipping in the church, 
joined to which, the church blocks up several 
streets which open on it, and causes some 
commotion amongst the fiercely contending 
drivers of vehicles. The municipal authorities 
agreed to give the cur6 a sum of £10,000 to 
enable him to build a new church in a suitable 
locality. This offer the good cur^ closed with, 
and forthwith a large handsome church wa& 
designed and put into the hands of the builders. 
The municipal subsidy was to be given when, 
the church's walls were brought to their in- 
tended height. This has been done ; but 
changes having taken place in the rulers of 

76 A Month at Lourdes. 

France, the municipality have harked back in 
their bargain. 

It is needless to saj that the great expenses 
caused by many works at the basilique, &c., 
have not been favourable to the project of the 
new church ; still, from time to time, the 
visitors to Lourdes did not forget the noble 
conduct of the Cur^ Peyramale when he was 
fighting the battle of the shrine at the grotto 
against all the powers of this world; and, 
believing that some recognition of those services 
required support in his new labours, have in 
many instances come to his aid. The projected 
church, like the basilique, stands over a very 
noble Crypt church. Although not so large 
as N6tre Dame, it is a more massive building. 
The sanctuary is a very large one, the ceiling 
of which will be supported by four marble 
•columns, while that of the nave will be sustained 
by ten columns. 

All the columns are now in their positions, 
and are of the most charming description of the 
coloured marbles of the Pyrenees, costing a 
pretty large sum to turn them out in the style 
in which they are. Each column is formed 
of one piece ; and the height cannot be less 
than twenty feet. The columns for the clere- 

A Month at Lourdes. 77 

story and aisles are of the same material, but of 
course of smaller dimensions. I said that some 
had remembered the good deeds of the cur^. 
I give the names of those who have charged 
themselves with the cost of the columns, taking 
those in the sanctuary first. 1. Diocese of 
Nantes, 1 876. 2. Monsignor Vital, Bishop of 
Olinda, Brazil. 3 and 4. The National Pilgrims 
from Paris, 1876. Those in the nave are — 
1. Diocese of Beauvoise, 1876. 2. Diocese 
de Perpignan, 1876. 3. Diocese of Limoges, 
1876. 4. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Munster, 1876. 

5. M. and Madame Henri Lasserre, Paris, 1876. 

6. Madame Blavette, 1876. 7. Alphonse 
Leblas, Paris, 1876. 8. Pilgrims from Rome, 
1876. 9. Monsignor Capel, Catholic University, 
London, 1876. 10. Belgian Pilgrims, 1876. 

A word before leaving this church about two 
of the donors. Henri Lasserre, who wrote the 
work " N6tre Dame de Lourdes," so highly 
spoken of by His Holiness the Pope, is a 
gentleman of independent means in the vicinity 
of Paris, and Henry Munster s fate at a fire 
in the hotel in America in 1876, will be 
remembered by all readers of the public 
papers. Mr. Munster sat for a time for the 
borough of Cashel. His mother visited Lourdes 

78 A Month at Lourdes^ 

in 1875, there she received favours at the 
grotto of Our Lady, and was eflfectually cured of 
an illness, which troubled her for many years. 
A marble tablet in the floor of the grotto re- 
counts the cure of Madame Munster. 

Having inspected the church, I and my 
American friend already alluded to went to pay 
our respects to the cur^. We found him in 
his parlour, the w^lls of which were covered 
with sectional drawings of his new church, 
and also a full view of it when completed. 
No one could mistake the curb's desire of 
seeing the wish of his heart accomplished. 
Rising up from the midst of his drawings, 
we stood before a grand specimen of a man 
of tall and noble features, which clearly 
showed that the cares of the busy life he had 
led during the past twenty years had left their 
impress upon his countenance. He received 
us most cordially, and entered freely into con- 
versation with us. To any question relative to 
the apparitions of Our Lady he readily supplied 
the required information. Those faithful (?) 
guides, Murray and Co., having mentioned in 
their books that Bemadetta Soubirous had gone 
insane, and was confined in a lunatic asylum, 
he smiUngly answered that Bemadetta was a 

A Month at Lourdes. 79 

professed nun in the convent of the Sisters of 
Charity at Nevers, close to Lyons. To the fur- 
ther question if Bernadetta was aware of what 
had been done at the rocks of Massabielle, where 
she had conversed with Our Lady, the cur^ 
answered by saying that ladies who had been at 
Lourdes from time to time had called to see Sister 
Mary Bernard (her name in religion), and, as 
ladies will talk when they meet, Bernadetta was 
aware of all that occurred at Lourdes. Having 
ascertained that I was a native of Ireland, the 
cur^ brightened up, and spoke in high praise 
of the Island of Saints, winding up his remarks 
by declaring that ^^ Ireland was a privileged 
nation." Asking me to what diocese I belonged, 
and being told Armagh, he inquired where the 
bishop resided, and the population of the ca- 
thedral city. When I answered him, he seemed 
astonished that so few inhabitants were therein. 
I explained that St. Patrick, the Apostle of 
Ireland, had formed his See at Armagh, and 
it has retained the primacy to our day. He 
spoke of the cathedral church. When I in- 
formed him that a pile worthy of the faith of 
Ireland has been raised, which has taken 
nearly forty years to bring to its present state, 
he shrugged his shoulders, and said he hoped 

80 A Month at Lourdes. 

it would not take him forty years to finisli his 
church. Alas ! within less than forty days 
the good and noble cur^ passed away to receive 
tlie reward of his labours here below, and to 
leave to other hands to carry to completion the 
magnificently designed church which his zeal 
and piety have so far advanced. 


Church Psalmody. — Saint Augustine — Great Assem- 
blage of Carmelite Fathers to honour Dr. Moreno. — 
Market Day. — French and Irish Modes of transacting 
Business. — Visit to Betharram. 

August 9th. — On this day a special thanks- 
giving to God, for the miraculous preservation 
of his lordship the Right Rev. Dr. Moyeno 
from the hands of his enemies, was given in 
the basilique. To add to the imposing nature 
of the day's ceremonies, the Carmelite Fathers 
from the surrounding convents came to Lourdes. 
A deputation of forty young men from the 
military academy at Tarbes, in their bright 
uniform, also came down. His lordship sang 
High Mass, and within the sanctuary seats 

A Month at Lourdes. 81 

were provided for the miUtary academicians, 
whose voices were heard with good eflFect in 
the musical portion of the Mass. The choir 
was composed of the Young Men's Society of 
Bagneres-de-Bigorre, whose proficiency in sacred 
psalmody has made for them a name through- 
out the South of France. If any of my readers 
had the pleasure of hearing the Bemais singers, 
when they visited these countries, some twenty 
or more years ago, they will be able to form 
some idea of the beauty of the chanting which 
took place in the Church of N6tre Dame de 
Lourdes on that remarkable day. The Bernais 
came from the neighbourhood of Bagneres-de- 
Bigorre. It is only on an occasion such as this 
that the beauty and sublimity of Catholic wor- 
ship can be witnessed and appreciated. Does 
any one desire to see the Church celebrate her 
great festivals ? If so, let him be present at the 
Feast of the Assumption. Clothed in magnifi- 
cent vestments, the celebrant and his attendant 
clergy stand before the high altar ; the Canon 
of the Mass is being read, the tinkling of the 
bells announces the great and glorious Act 
about to take place — the Man-God descend- 
ing from His Heavenly Throne to reign 
upon our altars. The divinely appointed 


82 A Month at Lourdes. 

minister pronounces the awful words of con- 
secration, he raises the Sacred Host aloft^ 
the congregation reverently bow their heads in 
humble adoration, their souls are touched with 
a holy love, and prayers from the deep dia- 
pason of the heart ascends like fragrant incense 
to the Throne of the Almighty Lord of Hosts I 
The choir sends forth its voice in sacred songs 
of adoration, praise, and gratitude. It is at 
such a moment that the strains of a Gregory, 
Artine, Palestrina, or Mozart become truly 
religious, not merely by being linked to words 
expressive of supplication and praise, or the 
enumeration of the attributes of the Deity, 
and declaring the homage which devotion pays 
to Him, but their power is felt as an agency 
acting upon the soid through the senses. Thus 
they make the nerves thrill, when they touch, 
purify, and elevate the mind, and they become 
over us an absorbing influence by which God 
communicates with man through the harmonies 
of nature ! What wonder that the great St. 
Augustine, when visiting the Cathedral of 
Milan, to hear St. Ambrose preach, and when 
he was not a member of the true Church, de- 
clared, as he entered the Cathedral during 
Holy Mass, " As the voices of the choir flowed 

A Month at Lourdes. 83 

in at my ears, truth was instilled into my 
heart, and the affections of piety overflowed in 
sweet tears of joy." A very interesting part 
of to-day's proceedings in the church was the 
reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation by 
three young boys, at the hands of the bishop, 
during an interval of the Mass. The youths 
knelt within the sanctuary, and received Holy 
Communion from the bishop. Before Confirma- 
tion the boys were taken into the vestry, from 
which they shortly emerged, each bearing a 
large wax candle in his hand. The bishop sat 
upon his throne and had each youth presented 
to him, and went through the ceremony with 
all the beautiful impressiveness belonging to 
the holy ordinance prescribed by the Church. 
After Confirmation the left arm of each boy 
was encircled with a white armlet indicative of 
the determination to fight for the truth of our 
holy reUgion. I saw the boys several times 
during the day, and observed that they still 
wore their armlets. Pontifical Vespers were 
given at two p.m., the same choir giving their 
services. The fervom' of the crowds, who 
thronged the church from early morn until it 
was closed at night, must have consoled the 
heroic Confessor for whose safe deliverance 


84 A Month at Lourdes. 

many of them had come from a considerable 
distance to thank the Almighty Creator of 
the universe for His protection of the good 

Lourdes is favoured with a market on each 
alternate Thursday ; I availed myself of the 
opportunity of seeing how the farmers and 
cattle dealers conducted their business. Aa 
early as four o'clock the air was filled with the 


pleasant tinkling of the string of bells which 
each cow or other animal employed in draw- 
ing waggons or coaches had around its neck. 
Here I may remark that the cows are a hardly- 
dealt-with animal in Southern France. It ia 
not enough that they have to give milk ; but 
they are likewise compelled to draw the carts, 
plough and harrow the land, and do all such 
work as is only performed by horses in these 
countries. Nothing can exceed the kindness 
with which the French people treat their dumb 
animals, never striking them, but rather induc- 
ing them to put forth their strength by acts of 
kind treatment. The cows have veils upon 
their faces, and their bodies are covered by 
neatly made crochet-work coverlets. These 
coverings are intended as a protection against 
the musquitoes, so numerous in the country. 

A Month at Lourdes. 85 

Having gone into the town where the prin- 
cipal part of the fair or market was held, it 
took some time ere I could beUeve that I was 
not in Ireland. The noise and bustle betwixt 
buyers and sellers was something to be remem- 
bered. Here was a man driving a bargain with 
a woman, the owner of four or five pigs, and to 
one not acquainted with the scenes to be seen 
amongst similar persons in an Irish fair, the 
idea that would suggest itself to his mind would 
be that physical violence was contemplated. 
The immemorial '^ penny," or rather the " ten 
centime " of the day, was brought into requisi- 
tion, accompanied with the usual moisture, to 
clench the bargain. It was really a good 
chance of viewing the French peasantry in 
their natural state of vivaciousness. Here were 
also the small farmers, some having a bushel 
of wheat, others a like quantity of rye, maize, 
or barley, all turning their little stock of pro- 
duce into cash. Bunches of flax, Unen and 
woollen yarns, fruit and vegetables — in fact, 
everything which the land produces, or the 
patient industry of the people could bring 
forth — were here for sale. It would be doing 
these simple-minded people an injustice if I 
omitted to state the fact that, amidst all the 

86 A Month at Lourdes. 

excitement, not one was to be seen under the 
influence of intoxicating spirits. Indeed, so 
far as that goes, I can safely aver that in mjr 
travels in France, covering nearly 2,000 miles, 
'and occupying the better part of a month, I 
did not see a single person under the influence 
of strong drink. 

August 10th. — Many strangers arrived and 
visited the church and grotto, all of whom, 
upon leaving, bore away with them vessels 
containing water from the miraculous fountain. 
Amongst those who appeared to-day was a 
veritable Palmer, dressed in all the character- 
istics of the pious traveller one reads of in 
Froissart. Ilis scrip and staff, his venerable 
beard, large prayer-book, beads and crosses, 
truly proclaimed the devotee, whilst his sun- 
burnt countenance clearly showed that he had 
traversed many lauds in the pursuit of hiS' 
pilgrimages to the shrines made remarkable 
by their sanctity. His was not the piety 
which trafficked in its manifestation, for I saw 
him refuse coins which were profiFered to him. 

August 11th. — To day, after breakfast, I 
left Lourdes for the purpose of visiting the 
Church of N6tre Dame and the Calvary at 
Montaut-Betharram, and was richly repaid for 

A Month at Lourdes. 87 

my journey. Visitors to Lourdes must not upon 
any account forego a visit to Betharram, be- 
cause if they do so, half the gratification whieh 
they otherwise would receive will be lost to 
them ; and as Betharram is only fifteen miles 
from Lourdes, it will not greatly encroach 
upon their time to run over to that most 
interesting locality. 

Betharram is amongst the most ancient and 
renowned shrines of Our Lady in France, and 
therefore some account of its origin will 
prove interesting to my Catholic readers. The 
following sketch, which for the sake of space I 
have considerably abridged, is taken from the 
history of the Venerable Pierre Marca, who 
was a priest at Betharram, and who took part 
in the ceremonies of the founding of the 
Calvary by the Archbishop of Auch in 1616. 
Tradition says that a church was founded here 
towards the close of the 10th cantury, having 
its origin in the finding of a miraculous 
statue of the Blessed Virgin. It is recorded 
that a young peasant girl, who was gathering 
flowers on the bank of the Gave, opposite 
Betharram, overbalanced herself and fell into 
the stream. Finding herself sinking, she im- 
plored the protection of the Mother of God, 

88 A Month at Lourdes. 

who then appeared to her, and plucking a 
branch of a white rose tree, threw it into the 
flood. The girl grasped it, and came safely 
to land. It is a most singular fact, and 
highly corroborative of the miraculous escape 
of the pious peasant girl, that on the rock 
where she saw the Virgin stand, a fountain 
gushed forth, which to this day sends its 
waters into the Gave. This fountain's source, 
although adjoining the Gave, is on an eleva- 
tion above the river's flood. The rescued girl 
and her friends presented to the church of 
Our Lady at Estelle — close to the present 
Betharram — a golden branch. Thus we have 
the name of Beau-Rameau, or Fine-Branch, 
or, as it is now called, " De Betharram," in 
the Gascon tongue. 

One of the Fathers of Betharram, who has 
recently published a short history of the sacred 
place, which was issued with the impri- 
matur of Mgr. Lacroix, Bishop of Bayonne, 
in alluding to the story of the girl and the 
rose branch, says, " Betharram deserves still 
more the title of ^ Fine- Branch,' in comparison 
to that which in the books of the Saints is 
compared to the cedar of Lebanon, to the 
cjrpress of Sion, to the palms of Cadres, to the 

A Month at Lourdes. 89 

rose-trees of Jericho, to the olives of the plains. 
Here it was that Mary established her dwelling- 
place in the midst of nature in all its beauty, 
in one of the delightful valleys of the Pyre- 
nees, and blessed with the most charming 
climate in the world. Most of the trees are 
emblems of, and symbolize with perfection the 
graces of the treasury which God has placed 
under their graceful shade, and they interlace 
and mingle their branches in a dome of ver- 
dure above His Holy Sanctuary." In the 
month of September, 1616, five villagers of 
Montauth, situated opposite Betharram, were 
enjoying their noontide refection, sitting on 
the slope of the river's bank. The sky was 
clear and bright, the air calm and still, and 
the distant horizon gave no sign of an ap- 
proaching storm. All at once the villagers 
hear a sound of a tempest in the direction of 
Betharram. They saw the Cross, which the 
Archbishop of Auch (Blessed Leonard de 
Trappes) had some time before placed on the 
summit of the mountain, which dominates the 
church of Betharram, fall to the ground, struck 
down by the blast. But soon the whirlwind 
ceased, and the cross again reared itself. A 
dazzling light, of splendid brilliancy, crowns 

90 A Month at Lourdes. 

the cross ; so bright and dazzling that the five 
villagers were scarcely able to gaze upon 
it. They run, and as it were, fly forward 
with high beating hearts, and they approach 
nearer and nearer to the miraculous appear- 
ance. When they have had their fill of joy, 
they hasten to communicate what has hap- 
pened to the faithful of the neighbourhood. 

This miracle caused a great sensation at 
B^arn. The Sectaries dared not doubt of its 
having happened. The neighbouring popu- 
lations were so convinced of its truth that 
they liastened to testify their joy by pro- 
cessions, in which they took part, for days 
afterwards, to the spot where it occurred. 
Five years later the Bishop of Auch instituted 
an inquiry by his delegates. They were joined 
by the authorities of Estelle, who were 
solemnly sworn to testify to the truth, and 
subjected to those severe rules which the 
Church always enforces to verify miracles, and 
this inquiry conclusively established the truth- 
fulness of the occurrence. 

St. Roch. — This holy Father of the church, 
who is patron saint of Betharram, was, I 
believe, an Irishman. Certain it is that 
Betharram, highly favoured place as it is, 

A Month at Lourdes. 91 

has not the exclusive claim of being under the 
patronage of St. Roch. At Bingen, midway 
on the Rhine, there is a favourite temple de- 
dicated to St, Roch. No one that has visited 
the charming scenery, of which Bingen forms 
so central a point for viewing, can forget the 
church of St. Eoch, or, as it is there called, 
*' Rochuscappelle," on the east brow of 
Rochusberg. This chapel, standing 341 feet 
above the Rhine, presents one of the finest 
views among many which are to be seen along 
that classic river. 

At Betharram there were so many well- 
attested miracles, that Rome could not long 
remain in. ignorance of the fact. Accordingly 
we find that a Commission was appointed to 
investigate into the truth of the reports reach- 
ing the Holy Father. Popes Urban VIII., 
Alexander VII., Gregory XVL, and Pius IX. 
(all of happy memory), have all borne testi- 
mony to the truth of the miracles wrought at 
the Church and Calvary of Betharram, and 
by special briefs have conferred many indul- 
gences on those who piously visit the sacred 
locality. Emperors, kings, and princes did not 
think it unworthy of their care to enrich with 
costly ornaments and rich foundations the 

^2 A Month at Lourdes. 

fihrine of Our Lady. Henrj IV., Louis XIII., 
Louis XIV., Napoleon III., Marie Antoinette, 
the Duchesses d'Angouleme, De Chambord, 
De Montaigu, the Empress Eugenie, and many 
of the great ones of the earth, have paid willing 
homage at the shrine of Our Lady at Betharram. 
Perhaps one of the most illustrious visitors to 
Betharram was the sainted Archbishop of Auch, 
the blessed Leonard de Trappes, who, in 1616, 
5aw upon the mountain over Betharram, a 
miraculous appearance of the Holy Cross, and 
conceived the idea of forming on the moun- 
tain a via crucis. This is a wonder to all 
who behold its soul - inspiring monuments, 
whose hearts must be rent with grief whilst 
•contemplating the tableaux of the doleful 
journey by which man's salvation was accom- 

During one of those evil periods when the 
world is seemingly given over to the wickedness 
of man, Betharram fell a prey to the fury of 
the Huguenots, who despoiled its sanctuaries, 
desecrated its Calvary, and massacred the pious 
men and women whose hitherto peaceful con- 
vents gave them a home. No sooner had France 
purged herself of the leprosy, than haste was 
made to restore the damage done by the 

A Month at Lourdes. 93 

fiendishly urged Vandals, and in a sliort time 
the church, convents, seminaries, and Calvary 
of Betharram once more assumed their former 
appearance, and stand to-day attesting the 
impotency of man s rage when confronted 
with the breath of an angry God. When at- 
tending the Vatican Council Monsignor La 
Croix, Bishop of Bayonne, in whose diocese 
Betharram is situated, solicited and obtained 
from the Sovereign PontiflF a grant of a plenary 
indulgence to all those who, complying with 
the requisite conditions, perform the Way of 
the Cross and visit the church of the Fathers of 
the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Having said this 
much about the origin of Betharram, I ought 
to say a few words on the locaUty itself, pre- 
vious to asking my readers to ascend with me 
the mountain's side upon which the Calvary 
and its many beautiful churches, fourteen in all, 
are situated. The church of N6tre Dame 
stands upon the left bank of the Gave, and, aa 
seen from the railway station, about half a mile 
oflF, one has but a faint idea of its grand propor- 
tions and richly emblazoned interior. The 
Gave here makes a sharp curve around a spur 
of the Pyrenees, and as its waters during their 
long course receive considerable accessions 

94 A Month at Lourdes. 

from the many tributary streams which flow 
into it, its volume at Betharram is very 
considerable. A bridge spans the river close 
to the church, the battlements of which 
are gracefully festooned with a peculiar descrip- 
tion of ivy, growing down in garlands until 
the branches touch the stream beneath. Im- 
mediately alongside of the bridge is a large 
conventual establishment for ladies, and further 
on, nearer to the church, is the seminary and 
monastery of the above-named Fathers. N6tre 
Dame is built in the massive style so peculiar 
to the Gascon churches, which, in their proxi- 
mity to Spain, have borrowed a good share 
of the architecture of that country. The 
numerous chapels within the church are made 
resplendent by the noble votive gifts of the 
several donors, some of whom I have already 
named above. The paintings of the " Way of 
the Cross " are really grand, whilst the many 
frescoes, with their interesting subjects, are 
highly devotional to look upon. Immediately 
in front of the church there is a statue of St. 
Roch, the patron saint of the district, standing 
under a canopy, the whole surmounting a well 
from which a copious flow of water is continu- 
ously poured into a basin. The village of 

A Month at Lourdes. 95 

Betharram stands about half a mile further 
down the banks of the Gave, where accommo- 
dation can be had by persons paying a visit to 
this place. If visitors object to put up with 
the fare obtainable at Betharram village, the 
distance from Pau is only nine miles, and ready 
access thereto can be had either by rail or 
coach for a few francs. Apart from religious at- 
tractions, Betharram deserves a visit. Situated 
in the midst of the valley of the Pyrenean 
range through which the impetuous Gave 
wends its way, the disciples of Isaac Walton 
need not lack plentiful occupation in the gentle 
art, no man's leave being required ; whilst 
those more adventurously inclined will find food 
enough for any amount of powder they may 
carry in their pouches. The peasantry are most 
civil, and willing to oblige, and the stranger 
who can control his temper, and curb his im- 
patience because people do not at once com- 
prehend all he wishes them to do, will get 
along pretty well in his travels. It is time I 
should now return to the calvary at Betharram ; 
but as it is too important to treat of at the end 
of a chapter, I must reserve my remarks upon 
the illustrious spot. 

To all who take an interest in the church 

96 A Month at Lourdes. 

and grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, and who 
remember the heroic conduct of the lately 
deceased Cur^ Peyramale, a perusal of the 
following touching letter of the once shep- 
herdess Bernadette Soubirous received since 
my return from Lourdes, and for which I am 
indebted to a kind friend in France, will doubt- 
less aflFord pleasure. 

Nevers, 15th Sept., 1877. 

Dear Friend, — I very much regret not 
having been able to write to you sooner ; but 
the so sudden death of our dear and venerable 
Cur^, has quite upset me. What a cruel loss 
to the dwellers at Lourdes I They would in- 
deed be ungrateful if they did not perceive in 
the death of our dear and good pastor an ex- 
cess of zeal of the glory of God and the salva- 
tion of souls ! It seems that the grief he ex- 
perienced . on account of the new church had 
much to do with hastening his death. I am 
by no means astonished ; he had so much at 
heart the work he had inaugurated so well. 
We must bow to the designs of God, without 
whose Will nothing is done. It was on the 
feast of the Nativity of the very Holy Virgin 
that this crushing news reached me. At nine 


A Month at Lourdes. 97 

o'clock my dear sister Nathalie came to seek 
me at the tribune, and told me that a despatch 
had arrived the previous evening to say that 
the cur^ was most dangerously ill. Then came 
another the same evening, which announced 

, his death I To tell you what I have suflfered 
would be impossible. But just so much as the 
pain I have suflfered has been great, equally 
sweet has been the consolation I have experi- 
enced on' reading that ' our lamented cur^ had 
the happiness of receiving the Holy Sacrament 
with his mind unclouded; and that he was 
comforted in his last moments by the Abb6 
Pomian, the friend of his heart, his faithful and 
zealous assistant. 

The very Holy Virgin came to seek our good 
Father on the day of her Nativity, to repay the 
sacrifices and severe trials he willingly sufiered 

^ owing to his love for her I The only consola- 
tion we have is, that we have another protector 
more in heaven, and this may assuage our 

In prajdng you to be so kind as to remember 

me in a small part of your prayers, I offer you 
my most respectful compliments, and have the 
honour to be, &c., 

Sister Marie Bernard Soubirous. 

98 A Month at Lourdes. 

This letter is not like the writing of a maniac, 
as some English authors, who have written of 
the apparitions of Our Lady at Lourdes, would 
fain make their readers believe. 


Betharram. — The Calvary. — Wonderful Sculptures. — 
The Crucifixion. — The Impenitent Thief. — Mary 
Magdalene. — The Pie Mater. — Eetum to Lourdee. — 
The Festival of the Assumption. — Great Processions 
and Illuminations. 

A SHORT distance from the principal entrance 
to the Church of N6tre Dame, the first Sta- 
tion of the Calvary is placed. As the four- 
teen chapels, in which are placed the Stations, 
nearly resemble each other, with one or two 
exceptions, I may here describe these sacred 
edifices. The chapels are built of cut-stone ; 
the altars are of marble, and over each 
altar is inserted a sacred relic. The carving 
of the doorways is very chaste in design and 
execution. The Way of the Calvary being 
ziffzaff, the chapels are so placed that the light 
is tWn upon the repLentations of the 
several stages of Our Lord's dolorous journey, 
which are fixed above the altar. This 

A Month at Lourdes. 99 

intromission of light has a very happy 
effect upon the figures and paintings with 
which the chapels are filled. All the figures 
-are carved in Caen stone, and exceed life- 
size, standing out distinct from the walls of the 
chapels. Each chapel is enclosed with hand- 
some bronze railings, having entrance gates in 
the centre to admit the clergy and people when 
performing the " Way of the Cross." I may 
add that the mountain, from its base to its 
summit, is clothed in a thick wood of acacias, 
walnuts, firs, and oak trees, whose lofty 
height show them to have been planted long 
ago, and whose rich foliage gives a sombreness 
to the path by which the people ascend. The 
rfirst Station shows Our Lord in the garden of 
Olives ; His chosen disciples asleep whilst their 
. Lord was praying. The second pourtr^ys the 
treason of Judas ; third, Jesus before Caiphas ; 
the fourth, the scourging at the pillar. The 
fiendish fury of the Jews, whose knotted cords 
tore and lacerated the divine flesh of the 
Saviour, has been well brought out in the de- 
moniacal looks which the sculptor has given to 
their countenances. The fifth Station, where 
Christ is being crowned with thorns, is a most 
striking representation of that cruel operation. 


100 A Month at Lourdes. 

The church in which this Station is placed was 
the gift of King Louis XIII. It is a kingly- 
erection. The building is surmounted by- 
three cupolas of exquisite design, of beautiful 
white marble. And there are three altars in 
it, which are quite in keeping with its style 
of architecture. Over the entrance is a 
tablet, which bears the following inscription : 
*^ La Chapelle de St. Louis. Doit son Erec- 
tion. A LA Vikut DE Louis XIIL SUR- 
N0MM1& Le Juste. Elle IPut Disastir Par 
LE Vandalisme Revolu^tionnaire En 179 3." 
In front of the high altar is inscribed : " Mais 
La Religion Est Immortelle !" This church 
presents a striking feature of the Calvary 
to all passengers who travel past Betharram 
by the railway from Pau to Tarbes. The 
sixth Station brings before you Our Saviour 
when presented to the gaze of the rabble by 
Pilate. I have looked with feelings of intense 
pain upon the many paintings of the " Ecce 
Homo " in the great museum of Antwerp, and 
have seen similar attempts to realise the subject 
upon canvas by the many inspired geniuses 
whose works adorn the cathedrals of Cologne, 
Mayence, Brussels, &c., but to put^ upon 
paper my feelings, on beholding the full-sized 

A Month at Lourdes. 101 

figure of the Redeemer, as shown in the chapel 
of the sixth Station of the Cross at Betharram, 
■ is beyond my power. To see the flesh, scari- 
fied with scourges, Kvid, and pouring forth 
blood from every vein and artery ; the very 
bones laid bare, the streams of blood coursing 
down the blessed face from every thorn so 
fiercely pressed into the head, the look of com- 
miseration for His cruel torturers amidst all 
His own aflBiictions, is enough to bring tears to 
the eyes of every Christian beholder. This 
representation of the shameless exposure of the 
Saviour by the infamous Jews, once seen, can ^ 
never be obliterated from memory, and makes 
the soul shudder at the enormity of human 
wickedness which could so treat the Son of 
God. At the eighth Station, where our Saviour 
meets His Blessed Mother, the group which 
displays this sad encounter, is wonderfully im- 
pressive, as is also the ninth, where Our Lord 
benignantly consoles the daughters of Jerusalem 
whom He saw weeping over His- afflictions. 
The cruel conduct of the executioners, shown 
at the tenth Station, who, in their malice, 
are striving to increase the tortures of the 
Son of God by drawing His hands and feet 
to the holes into which the nails were after- 

102 A Month at Lourdes. 

wards driven, is brought yividly before toil 
After passing the tenth Station we arrive at the 
summit of the Calvarv, and find ourselves standi 
ing upon a plateau some two acres in extent, 
around which are grouped the next four stages 
of the Passion and the Resurrection, with some 
beautifully executed groups of statuary in keep- 
mg with the solemn scene around. Visitors 
upon entering this plain, on the lofty summit 
of the hill of Betharram, some 4000 feet above 
the level of the^ sea, are struck with wonder at 
viewing the sublimity of the surrounding scenery. 
As far as the eye can reach on one side are 
the lofty peaks of the Pyrenees, whose glacier 
capped summits are seen far above the clouds, 
rising up from the valleys below. Looking in 
another direction, the broad expanse of the 
waters of the Atlantic as they dash against the 
coasts of Spain and France are visible. The 
cities and towns which are placed within a 
circle of sixty miles around, look as mere specks 
in the panorama of woods, mountains, lakes, 
and rivers, presented to the gaze of the on- 
looker. To repeat the language of a writer 
already referred to in describing Betharram : 
" Here Mary has established her dwelling- 
place in the midst of nature in all its beauty. 

A Month at Loutdes. 103 

in one of the most delightful valleys of the 
Pyrenees, and blessed with the most charming 
climate in the world. Most of the trees here 
are emblems of, and symbolize with perfection, 
the graces of the treasury which God has placed 
under her grateful shade ; and they interlace 
and mingle their branches lovingly in a vast 
dome of natural verdure above His holy sanc- 
tuary." But it is not with the beauties which 
bountiful nature spreads around us that I have 
now to deal. I have to speak of the scenes upon 
this spot as typified in stone, of the crowning 
act, by which all human hopes were revived in 
the beatific hereafter, by the death of the 
Redeemer of fallen mankind. As you enter 
the circle, and look towards the south-west, 
the Crucifixion on the *^ Hill of Calvary " stands 
before you. The three crosses are at least 
twenty feet high, and the figures are consider- 
ably above life-size. On the right hand side 
of the Saviour, the Penitent Thief is suspended 
upon his cross. His head is humbly cast down 
upon his breast, with face sUghtly turned 
towards Our Saviour. The first finger of the 
dexter hand is pointed heavenwards ; whilst 
the- Saviour, in His dying agonies, sweetly 
inclines His head towards the humble penitent, 

104 A Month at Lourdes. 

and consolingly points His Divine finger up- 
wards, assuring the dying thief that ere another 
sun shall have risen, he shall be with Him 
in Paradise. On the left hand hangs the 
Impenitent thief, his countenance distorted 
with rage, his body writhing with agony, his 
right hand clenched with fiendish anger, as he 
in his blind fury taunts the Son of God for not 
releasing him from the ignominious gibbet upon 
which, for his malefactions, he hangs suspended. 
The countenance of the wretch clearly shows, 
as far as the sculptor can, the enormity of 
the wickedness of the sinner. Standing out 
against the clear blue sky, the group of the 
Crucifixion on the Calvary at Betharram, will 
well repay any trouble or expense incurred by 
such as feel moved to pay this highly interest- 
ing spot a visit. The taking down from the 
cross, the Entombment, and the Resurrection, 
have each their respective chapels, and are 
equally grand in their representations. The 
latter chapel has three altars — over the centre 
one is a magnificent painting of the Resurrec- 
tion, and over each of the others are paintings 
which must have cost a considerable sum of 
money to purchase. On the south side of the 
plateau there is a group of white marble, a 

A Month at Lourdes. 105 

PietUy' the work of the elder Dumoulet of 
Toulouse, the expense of which was borne 
by the Marquis Armarid-Mathieu d*Angosse 
and his wife. This group shows tl^e Blessed 
Virgin with the dead body of her Divine 
Son lying in her lap, and the expression on the 
countenance of the afficted Mother of God 
might well challenge the compassion of all 
beholders. On the opposite side of the square, 
facing the Pie Mater, is a statue of Mary 
Magdalene cast in metal, which finely pour- 
trays, the intensity of the feelings of grief 
by which the sainted Magdalene was filled on 
Calvary. The cost of placing those beautiful 
groups on the lofty plateau must haye been 
considerable. The Chapel of the Resurrection 
has been specially indulgenced by the Pope. 
Immediately behind the Calvary is a neatly 
kept cemetery, in which are interred the re- 
mains of the deceased members of the religious 
communities, who have died at the convents at 
Betharram. Having thu^ given a very bald 
description of the Calvary at Betharram, and 
the other religious institutions there, I must 
once more return to Lourdes. 

August 12th, 13th, and l^th.-— No par- 
ticular pilgrimages had arrived at Lourdes, but 

106 A Month at Lourdes. 

the church and grotto hare their crowded 
Totaries from earlj mom until late at night 
On Tuesday afternoon, a large number of people 
came to Lourdes to assist at the ceremonies of 
the following day — ^the " Feast of the Assump- 
tion of Our Lady into Hearen." It need not 
be told to any one who has yisited France how 
deeply the Blessed Virgin is held in esteem by 
the people. Statues in the public thorough- 
fares, on the tops of the loftiest mountains, 
pictures in the houses — the almost universal 
name of "Marie," borne by the men and 
women, all incontestably prove the love which 
the people have. Hence of all the festivals 
by which the Church honours the Mother of 
God, none is more attractive to the people 
than is the festival of the Assumption. No 
wonder then that so many are seen wending 
their way to the grotto of the Immaculate 
Virgin to ask her intercession on the spot 
where she so recently manifested herself to 
the little shepherdess, Bemadette Soubi- 
rous. A great number of visitors came 
from Paris, Lyons, Pau, Toulouse, besides 
many who were stajdng for the benefit of 
the mineral waters at Bareges, Cauterets, 
Bagneres do Bigorre, St. Savure, &c. No 

A Month at Lourdes. 107 

wonder that Lourdes on Tuesday evening pre- 
sented a busy and stirring appearance. The 
hotels were crowded. The missionaries in 
charge of the basilique, were busily engaged 
in preparing the church for the festival, 
while the numerous clergymen, who came in 
with their parishioners, were engaged in the 
confessionals up to a late houi* at night, and 
again from an early hour in the morning. 
Indeed many remained the whole of the* night 
before the shrine of Our Lady engaged in their 
pious meditations. At an early hour the 
people were astir, getting themselves and their 
houses in order for the day. To say that tens 
of thousands paid their loving devotions to 
Ood at the church and grotto of Our Lady is 
literally true, and those who came from a 
distance to witness the ceremonies, must have 
been well repaid. The numerous altars were 
constantly and continuously occupied with 
priests * oflfering up the Holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass, and thousands of devout communicants 
surrounded the sanctuary rails to receive the 
Bread of Life. High Mass over, the crowds 
went into town to partake of food so as to be 
present at the Vespers at two p.m., and then 
to be witnesses of the interesting proceedings 

108 A Month at Lourdes. 

i^hich took place at four o'clock. When Vespers 
were over, the seats were removed from the 
nave of the basilique, to enable the people 
who took part in the procession from the 
town to find accommodation in the church, it 
being entirely reserved for them. At four 
p.m., sounds of military music came up from 
the town, and shortly afterwards were to be 
seen splendid silken banners, whose richly orna- 
mented folds were fluttering in the sun's 
rays. The procession was led by three cross- 
bearers, who walked in the centre of the street, 
whilst, on either footway, a line of young girls 
were dressed in white, with blue scarfs around 
their shoulders, wearing crowns of beautiful 
flowers upon their innocent heads. • As each 
^uild came along, the flag of the sodality was 
borne aloft. As with the girls and women, so 
with the men, flags and bannerets were carried 
in front of each guild. The excellent peal of 
bells of the basilique poured forth their wel- 
<;ome notes to the people who were wending 
their way to the church. The procession was 
xiccompanied by the municipal guard, whose ' 
bright uniforms lent additional variety to 
the scene. When the clergy of tlie parish 
church of St. Pierre were nearing the bridge 

A Month at Lourdes. 10^ 

which spans the Gave, dividing Lourdes proper 
from the basilique, the superior of the basi- 
'lique and three other priests, all clothied in 
costly vestments, and preceded by about twenty 
boys, suitably attired, left the church and pro- 
ceecjed to the bridge, where the parochial clergy 
met them, and after some salutations, they 
both returned to the basilique. Standing on 
an eminence over the church, and looking 
down upon the processionists as they came up 
the incline, the sight was grandly impressive. 
The bright dresses of the ladies as they 
marched along the footpaths, and the nu- 
merous flag-bearers walking in the centre of 
the street, looked like a flower-garden whose 
walks were fringed with violets and roses. 
The men, too, in |;heir neat and clean attire, 
formed no small part in the scene, whilst some 
Eastern Christians, by their picturesque dress, 
formed a conspicuous object in the grand pro- 
cession. The Litany of Our Lady of Lourdes 
was sung by the people, and to hear the sound 
of some thousand voices chanting the attributes 
of the Mother of God, as it floated up the side 
of the mountain, was really grand and inspiring. 
After solemn Benediction, the processionists- 
left the church and traversed the zigzag way on 

110 A Month at Lourdes. 

the side of the hill on which the church stands, 
to the grotto, where the Litany was again sung, 
And some prayers recited, after which the 
parishioners of Lourdes returned to St. Pierre, 
where they dispersed to re-assemble again at 
seven p.m. atthebasilique. In the meantime the 
brothers, who attend at the basilique, were not 
idle. The lofty doorway of the church was 
surrounded with four bands of coloured globes, 
and the fa9ade of the church also had a plen- 
tiful supply of similar globes placed upon it, 
whilst around the base, for its whole extent, a 
cordon of lamps was affixed. The statue of 
the Virgin which stands in the meadows be- 
twixt the church and Lourdes was decked out 
in evergreens, and a large circular flower plot 
surrounding the statue had globes placed 
amongst its flowers and shrubs, the pedestal of 
the statue being likewise supplied with lamps. 
When the ceremonies began at eight o'clock 
the interior of the building was lit up in the 
manner described in a former chapter, and need 
not here be repeated. When the congre- 
gation came out of the church, the shades of 
night tried to descend, but were baffled by the 
brilliancy which shone from the thousand lamps 
burning around, upon the church, and upon 

A Month at Lourdes. Ill 

the statue. A procession was now formed, 
which wended its way from the church to the 
grotto, each person bearing a lighted flambeau 
in his hand, the whole solemnly chanting the 
" Ave Maria." These \y^ere received by the 
thousands who could not gain admission to the 
church, and who were assembled around the 
grotto, with a joyousness too profound to find 
expression in language, but which their hearts 
felt, as their moistened eyes clearly showed. 
When the procession had reached the grotto, 
the convents of the Carmelites and the Bene- 
dictine nuns, on the opposite bank of the Gave, 
flashed instantaneously into sheets of light. 
The scene at this moment was the grandest 
imaginable. The basuique, standing two hun- 
dred feet above the crowds, encircled with 
robes of light of many colours ; the shrine 
of Our Lady, before it thousands of candles 
burning ; convents across the river reflecting 
back the intense light, and the flowing waters 
of the Gave turned into a sheet of silver by the 
contending beams, the statue in the distance 
like a pillar of light amongst the trees which 
surround it, the six thousand persons hold- 
ing lighted flambeaux in their hands, the 
joy-bells sending forth their mellow peals,, the 

112 A Month at Lourdes. 

melody of the thousand voices of priests and 
people all went to form a scene, which any one 
who had the "privilege of witnessing, can never 
forget. When the devotions at the grotto were 
concluded, the entire people once more fell 
into a procession, and proceeded to the statue 
of Our Lady, around which they grouped 
themselves. There, after a short prayer, the 
" Magnificat " was sung by the vast multitude. 
This being concluded, the procession returned 
to Lourdes, the people still carrying the lights 
in their hands, and singing the Litany, whilst 
several of the houses were illuminated. After 
again singing the " Magnificat," in the Grand 
Square of Lourdes, the people dispersed to 
their respective homes. Any comments upon 
the sublime devotion I this day Witnessed 
would not do justice to the way in which was 
observed this glorious festival. 

A Month at Lourdes, 113 


Argelles. — Peasant Proprietors — St Luz. — Curious 
Church.— Wonderful Scenery. — Bareges. — Mineral 
Waters. — The Pass of the Tourmalet. — Shepherds 
about to shear the Sheep. — The Valley of the 
Campan. — Gripp. — Bagneres de Bigorre. — Death of 
an Actress. — Burial Kites. — The Great Marble 
Works of M. Gerezut. 

August 16th. — After the exciting scenes 
witnessed yesterday a little recreation was 
found necessary, and accordingly a party of 
eight was arranged for the purpose of crossing 
the Pyrenees to visit the mineral baths, &c., at 
Bagneres de Bigorre. Some idea of the diffi- 
culty attending this journey may be formed 
when I mention that although Bagneres de 
Bigorre is only fourteen miles, as the crow 
ffies, from Lourdes, it took us the better 
part of two days to reach the former place, al- 
though each carriage was drawn by four spirited 
horses. Imitating Napoleon I. who made a 
road across the Alps, his nephew, Napoleon 
III., constructed a road from Pau across 
the Pyrenees which displays wonderful en- 
gineering skill in its construction. Had Napo- 
leon III. been allowed to remain at the head 
of affairs in France, he would have com- 


114 A Month at Lourdes. 

pleted the road into Spain, for only eighteen 
miles had to be made at the fall of his dynasty. 
His memory will never fade away from this 
part of France as long as the highway made 
under his auspices endures. Having taken 
leave of Lourdes, we drove along the valley of 
the Lavedan affording a pleasing contrast 
to the bare hills which divide it from Lourdes, 
passing an old tower, once the property of the 
Black Prince, whose head-quarters it was 
during some of the most stirring events of that 
heroic Prince's war. The splendid crops abound- 
ing in this valley show how well the people, 
who reside upon, and also oiun the land, are 
versed in the science of practical agriculture. 
The town of Argel6s lies in this beautiful valley, 
and, from its well-sheltered situation, is said ta 
be the best place for invalids to spend the win- 
ter season in. Its population does not exceed 
two thousand, but the neatness of the dwellings, 
added to the comfortable appearance of the 
people, clearly demonstrate the advantages ac- 
cruing from a peasant proprietary who till their 
own land, and are thus able to enjoy the full 
benefits of the fruits of their industry. At the 
head of the valley stands the town of Pierre- 
fitte, as you approach which, you imagine that 

A Month at Lourdes. 115 

the hills surrounding it will put a stop to fur- 
ther progress in that direction. The railway 
from Bayonne ends here, as the mountains 
are too steep to carry it any further towards 
Spain. Some of the hills rear their snow-cap- 
ped summits 7,030 feet above the level of the 
sea. Whilst allowing the horses some time 
to bait, a few of us strolled up to the mouth 
of the gorge, through which the waters of the 
Gave rolled along at a considerable distance 
beneath, the lofty trees which Kne both sides of 
it, mingling their branches, giving to the scene 
a grand appearance, which will well repay 
all who mabe this journey. The valleys of 
Cauterets and Luz divide here, the former to 
the right and the latter to the left. As we 
were bound by the one taking the left, we 
drove along for a few hours amidst some of the 
wildest scenery imaginable. Mountains whose 
riven sides seemed ready to topple down as 
you wend your way close at their base, and, 
anon, the forests of wood which grow along 
their sides call up encounters with the wolves 
and bears abounding in their fastnesses which 
were anything but pleasant to the timid-minded. 
The village of Luz is situated in the valley we 
are traversing. There is a pecuKarly con- 

116 A Month at Lourdes. 

structed church in this place. The building 
formerly was a citadel, but the crusaders turned 
it into a place of worship.* The church is of 
the eleventh century and is entered by a machi- 
colated gateway. Battlements surround the ex- 
terior of the sacred edifice, provided with loop- 
holes, etc., which clearly show how fiercely the 
faith was defended by those semi- warriors and 
clerics — ^the Templars. A gateway in the 
southern wall still exists, through which the 
Catechumens had to pass when leaving the 
church during those portions of the Mass from 
which they were excluded. At the entrance 
of this church is placed upon a pedestal 
a stone coffin, in which are the remains of a 
child who died before being baptised. Seven 
or eight hundred years have rolled by since the 
child died, and yet is visible the skeleton of 
the infant lying in its stony bed. The Hd of 
the coffin is slightly raised so as to afford a 
view of the remains. On a hill commanding 
the town a handsome new church has been 
erected by the Empress Eugenie, and dedicated 
to St. Peter of Solferino. Proceeding from 
Luz to St. Sauveur the carriage road is in some 

* This church was quite in keeping with the cha- 
racter of its founders — half church, half fortress. 

A Month at Lourdes. 117 

of its parts fearful to contemplate. Now 
scooped out of projection of a rock, and 
anon poised in mid-air over a rushing torrent, 
it winds its circuitous way along the right 
bank of the Gave until it crosses that river by 
a bridge of a single arch. This bridge is a 
grand triumph of science. To see it in its lofty 
position, 216 feet above the stream, you would 
fancy that it had been a circle which broke in 
the heavens, the half of which, descending to 
earth, caught the rocks on either side of the 
river and bridged its banks. There is an obe- 
lisk commemorating the completion of the 
bridge, and bearing an inscription complimen- 
tary to Napoleon III. and his Empress. Few, 
indeed, are the spots which impress so forcibly 
the mind of the beholder as does this locality 
in which nature and art are so commingled, 
for each lends and borrows charms from the 
other. The foundation stone of the bridge 
was laid in 1860, and its erection cost 300,000 

Luz is the seat of the manufacture of the 
celebrated Cr^pe de Bareges, and as we had 
some ladies of the party, of course their in- 
quisitiveness prompted a visit to some of the 
weavers' workshops in which the article was 


118 A Month at Lourdes. 

being manufactured. The Jacquard looms 
are very neatly arranged, and the workmen 
were most obliging. Having refreshed our 
horses we started for Bareges, where we arrived 
about seven p.m. This town is situated on 
the side of a hill, and consists of but one 
street in which are some really fine hotels. 
The thermal springs here are famed fo^ their 
curative qualities. So highly prized are the 
waters that the Government have erected 
baths, to which they send invalid soldiers, and 
hence the semi-military appearance of the 
crowds you meet in the place. The public 
baths are really handsome buildings, but, from 
my idea, having tasted the waters as they came 
out of the rock, I should be really at death's 
door before I could be brought to drink of 
them. The baths are open day and night, 
are scrupulously clean, and the charges 
moderate. There are assistants who call at 
the hotels when desired, and who convey ladies 
and gentlemen in handsome sedan chairs to 
the baths. As those using this mode of con- 
veyance need not make their morning toilets 
previous to bathing, much trouble and annoy- 
ance in dressing and undressing is thereby 
avoided, for the chairs are fully curtained, and 

A Month at Lourdes. 119. 

the greatest privacy thus preserved. Although 
Bareges stands nearly 5,000 feet above the 
sea level, its climate is not so variable as one 
might expect, for the neighbouring hills afford 
shelter from the fierce storms which are some- 
times experienced amongst the gorges of the 
Pyrenees. Tourists are fond of staying at 
Bareges, as it is the centre of a wide range of 
the bold and romantic scenery which there 
abounds. Mountains of great height are in 
view, and are of comparatively easy ascent. 
The Pic-du-Midi Bigorre looks down from its 
dominant position, 9,000 feet above the sea 
level, whilst its lesser raised neighbours are of 
respectable altitude. The only thing which 
gave me annoyance during my visit was the 
miserable hovel in which Catholic worship is 
carried out. When assisting at Mass you could 
not help imagining yourself in some mountain 
chapel of 100 years ago in Ireland. Why 
5uch,a structui^e should be allowed to exist in 
a place frequented by so many wealthy 
travellers is a wonder to me. There is a 
convent chapel close to the public baths, which 
is a simple structure, but very neatly kept. 
The avalanches of the winter play sad havoc 
occasionally with Bareges, and whether its 

120 A Month at Lourdes. 

churches are sometimes their victims I cannot 
say, but certainly it would be all the more 
honourable to the inhabitants if some efiForts 
were made to provide more suitable and 
becoming sanctuaries for Divine worship. 

Those of my readers who have had the 
gratification of seeing the sun rise amidst 
mountains, can appreciate my feelings, when 
early on the morning of the day after our 
arrival at Bareges I arose, and, accompanied 
by one of my fellow voyagers, left the 
hotel before sunrise and ascended for a con- 
siderable distance one of the mountains. The 
valley beneath us was like a sea of molten 
silver, the fleecy clouds covered fields, houses, 
and forests, stretching along the bases of the 
hills. The sky piercing summits of the sur- 
rounding Pics, looked like so many rocky points 
rising up in the midst of the sea. Long 
before the sun made himself visible to us, the 
distant mountain tops had caught his rays, and 
their burnished heads looked like golden pin- 
nacles placed around the shores of the cloud- 
lake atmosphere in which their bases were 
enveloped. The glistening of the icy cover- 
ing of some of the peaks, as Sol's rays fell 
upon their glacier mantles, gave to the scene 

A Month at Lourdes, 121 

a charming appearance which no one could 
forget, who had once looked upon the works 
of God as seen in this most grandly arranged 

Having breakfasted, we took the road for 
Bagneres de Bigorre, some twenty-five miles 
off across the mountains. Driving along the 
valley for some hours, we encountered some of 
the most interesting sights to be found amongst 
the Pyrenean range. As our road had been a 
very circuitous one, each turn we made opened 
up to view a new vista : mountains whose 
sides from the top to the base, were clothed 
in woods of various descriptions of tree and 
shrub, and valleys, as far as the eye could pene- 
trate, filled with large boulders wrenched from 
their native beds by some of the fierce freaks 
of nature, and then hurled down the rugged 
sides of the mountains. There, apparently 
turned by friction into balls, they lay upon 
the plains below like a shower of marbles. 
The wonderful pertinacity displayed by the 
simple but industrious peasantry, who, here but 
sparsely placed, is truly admirable. A patch 
of land, hardly a rood in extent, perched upon 
the side of the mountain, is seized upon and 
made productive. The only wonder is how 

122 A Month at Lourdes. 

on earth human beings could ascend and 
descend to such airy situations. Another 
interesting feature is the numerous flocks of 
sheep, whose woolly coats give them the ap- 
pearance of so many mushrooms . as they 
browse in their inaccessible pastures. Their 
quiet is seldom disturbed except by the eagle 
or the isard. Such are some of the scenes 
the traveller beholds as he journeys through 
this grand valley towards the pass of the 
Tourmalet, by which he crosses the Pyrenees 
on his w^ay to Bigorre. But before he doubles 
the pass I would advise him to halt for a 
moment and turn his face along the valley 
through which he had been travelling, and take 
in, if he can, the grandeur of the scene which 
nature presents to his view. Standing here 
and looking back down the valley immediately 
in front rises up in its lofty eminence, the Pic 
du Midi de Bigorre, 9,000 feet ; on his left 
hand, Mount Perdu, 10,989 feet; and away 
far upon his right, towers aloft above its com- 
panions the almost inaccessible Maladette, 
11,300 feet above the sea level. The snow- 
capped heads of these mountains, yielding to 
the heat of the sun's rays, distil their frigid 
coverings into streams of pellucid waters. As 

A Month at Lourdes. 123 

^een from this stand-point they look Kke so 
many rods of silver pursuing their devious 
•courses down the mountain sides and rolling 
into the valley beneath. The neat little white 
churches which stud the valley and mountain- 
sides, their tiny spires pointing heavenwards ; 
the sounds of the distant convent bells, as 
they ring out the " Angelus," added to the 
mellow-tinkling of the peculiar-shaped bells 
with which the several herds of kine and flocks 
of sheep are supplied, by the sounds from 
which ill these fastnesses, the owners trace 
their whereabouts, all go* to form one har- 
monious act of devotion to Him who so 
fashioned and made this glorious scene. Pass- 
ing through the gap cut through the Tourmalet 
and shutting out from view the sterile hills of 
Gavamie, we are brought into contact with a 
class of scenery which is superbly grand. The 
valley of the Campan is known to all readers of 
poKte literature for its varied beauties. The 
Adour here taking its rise, soon swells into a 
respectable river, and the waters which con- 
tribute to its floods as they course down the 
mountains, form innumerable cascades which, 
heard amongst the foli?tge overshadowing their 
courses, is really delightful. As you descend 

124 A Month at Lourdes. 

the mountain towards the Grip you have 
need to brace your nerves. Hazardous as the 
ascent is from the valley on the other side of 
Tourmalet, the prospect of a speedy descent 
down the Grip valley is very alarming. Still 
I will say to all who visit Lourdes and can 
spare the time, see the valleys of Gavamie and 
the Campan. If you are an admirer of nature 
you will here see her in some of her grandest 
habiliments. As we approached the village 
of Grip we met a number of shepherds going 
up to the mountains to take stock of the 
sheep, and shear them of their wool. Those 
light-hearted peasants were marching along in 
a military fashion, stepping out to the strains 
of two or three of the party who were singing 
one of the chansons of Beranger, or some 
other favourite poet, whilst the refrain was 
taken up by the remainder of their companions. 
How very like what one could witness in 
Ireland some forty years ago, when the indus- 
trious peasantry of the West trudged their 
way to their point of departure from the 
Green Isle for England, there to gather in the 
hay and corn harvests, so that they might 
earn a few pounds with which to pay the 
rent of their little homesteads. They too. 

A Month at Lourdes. 125 

like the peasantry of the Pyrenees, were 
accustomed to march to the lively airs of 
their country, when played for them by some 
piper or fiddler. We reached Bagneres de 
Bigorre, and found the place so crowded with 
visitors that our host of the Hotel de France 
could only provide us with food under his roof, 
and we had to find lodgings in another estab- 
lishment. Unlike Bareges, Bagneres de 
Bigorre is a considerable town, having well- 
shaded promenades in its streets. The town 
boasts of some 11,000 inhabitants, whose 
numbers are added to during the season by 
from 7,000 to 9,000 visitors, who come for 
the waters. Many strangers remain during 
the winter, for from its sheltered situation 
the temperature is higher than in other 
parts of the South of France. The female 
portion of the townspeople are constantly 
employed in making articles of ladies' attire 
from the fine wool brought from Spain; 
and here are the principal manufactories of the 
Cr6pe de Bareges. But it is from its many 
and important mineral springs that the town 
derives its greatest profit. These number 
about fifty, and are of various health-giving 
qualities. Of all the mineral waters of 

126 A Month at Lourdes. 

France, they approach nearest those of Baden- 
Baden, and persons of limited means, who 
dare not yisit that expensive place, can, at a 
moderate outlay, spend a few weeks pleasur- 
ably at Bagneres de Bigorre. On one side 
of Mont Olivet the town raises its wooded 
eminence, whereon are arranged shady walks, 
and from which some good views of the 
country can be had. Behind Mont Olivet 
rises the lofty Mont B^dat, upon whose tower- 
ing summit stands a statue of the Mother of 
God, of pure white marble, and larger than life 
in its dimensions. This statue of the Virgin can 
be seen for many leagues aroimd, and, viewed 
from the town, looks, in its blue canopy of 
the heavens, a magnificent work of art. Time 
pressing, I did not approach the statue, for the 
journey occupies from two to three hours ; but 
I gave ready credence to those who had made 
the ascent, that the view from its base is really 
grand and noble. Bagneres de Bigorre has 
played its part in the wars of France. The 
EngUsh had the place ceded to them by the 
Treaty of Bretigny, and, being on the frontier 
of Spain, the Spanish, English, and French 
armies had many a bloody engagement around 
its fortifications, none of which now exist. 

A Month at Lourdes. 127 

The churches of the Carmelites and theu* 
convents are very good buildings, particu- 
larly the new church, Mont Olivet, which 
is reallj a splendid erection. Entering this 
church the morning after our arrival,.! saw 
his Lordship Dr. Moreno celebrating holy 
Mass at one of the side altars. The parish 
church of St. Vincent must have been a 
noble structure before the revolutionary Van- 
dals of 1793 made an attack upon it and 
destroyed its westeruv end. It is still a fine 
church and has many altars of richly sculptured 
marble. I saw a very touching scene at an early 
Mass in St. Vincent's Church. Before one of 
the side altars near the end of the church, 
resting upon a trestle, lay a coffin, in which 
was the body of a female. Around the bier 
was grouped a number of young women 
who were ofifering up their prayers, and 
chanting the responses during the Mass of 
Requiem. As the corpse was carried out from 
the church I observed four young females 
bearing a pall after the bier, on which were 
bunches of flowers and immortelles. The 
priest and acolytes walked before the sad 
cortege, reciting the prayers set apart by the 
Church for such occasions. The novelty of 

128 A Month at Lourdes. 

this mode of burial excited my curiosity and 
caused me to inquire into the antecedents of 
the person thus taken to the grave. I learned 
that she was a young girl who had a short 
time before come from Alsace to seek employ- 
ment at the Casino in the town, and that 
she became a singer and dancer in that place. 
The rest of her history is soon told. The 
conscience-stricken girl awakened to her folly, 
and in a moment of temporary aberration, 
took a draught of poison. The Church, who 
welcomed her innocent soul into the fold at 
the baptismal font, now threw the shield of her 
prayers around the departed soul. From the 
appearance of the High Altar of St. Vincent's 
it was evident that some one of note also had 
passed away, and I was not surprised when, 
later in the morning, I saw a procession of 
clergy, wearing the sombre vestments used in 
Masses for the Dead, accompanied by cross- 
bearers and the choir of the church, proceed 
to a distant part of the town, to a house in 
which a man lay dead. They shortly after- 
wards returned to the church, chanting on their 
way the "Miserere." After placing the cofi&n 
upon a catafalque in front of the altar, a 
solemn High Mass was sung for the repose of 

A Month at Lourdes. 129 

the soul of the deceased Christian. The 
solemn strains of the choir as they sang the 
Dies Irce were very impressive. 

A visit to the marble works pf M. Geruzet 
will well repay the trouble. In this immense 
manufactory are employed over three hundred 
mechanics and artists. The beautiful flesh- 
coloured marbles of the district are here seen 
in all their grandeur of stratification. The 
huge machinery by which columns of great size 
are turned out is on a gigantic scale. In the 
showroom are exhibited a selection of the 
several articles made in the establishment, with 
the cost of each afiixed. Beautiful white 
marble altars, complete in every part, can 
here be had for the modest sum of forty 
pounds sterling. If any of my readers are 
thinking of making a votive offering to some 
struggling priest who is attempting to beau- 
tify the temple of the Most High, let him 
give an order to M. Geruzet, who will send an 
altar to him. No one need be apprehensive 
of undue advantage being taken, for M. Geruzet 
is a man above suspicion, and he is also the 
local agent for Coutts and Co., bankers at 

Visitors to Bagneres de Bigorre cannot but be 


130 A Month at Lourdes. 

pleased with the extensive and beautiful display 
of flowers which are to be seen there. I 
noticed that in most parts of the Pyrenees 
flowers were not so abundant as the sunny 
nature of the climate might lead one to expect ; 
but at Bagneres de Bigorre, there is a system 
of irrigation in action which abundantly sup- 
pUes the gardens of the place with water from 
the Adour, and hence the floral productions 
of the town are rich and plentiful. This 
system of irrigation is almost seK-acting by 
means of locks placed upon the river, and the 
waters are conveyed by conduits to all parts of 
the town, hence the non-necessity of making 
reservoirs, or using pumping machinery. 

Having spent a very enjoyable time at Bag- 
neres de Bigorre I was prepared to leave for 
Tarbes, en route for Paris, as my time of vaca- 
tion was nearly expired, but yielding to the 
persuasion of my companions, especially to 
the clerical head of the party, I agreed to 
return to Lourdes for the night, and then 
start for home next day. Horses being put 
to, our carriages rolled along the streets, the 
drivers making the clear air resound to the 
sharp click of their whips. After a drive of 
two hours and a haK through a pleasant and 

A Month at Lourdes. 131 

fertile country, we once more found ourselves 
under the shadow of Our Lady's Church at 


Thunderstorm at Lourdes. — The National Pilgrimage. — 
Numerous Miracles. — An Irishman's Faith in the 
Blessed Virgin. — A Miracle on Board an Atlantic 
Steamer in Mid-Ocean. — Pius IX. sends the Golden 
Rose to Lourdes. — Irish Prelate Pilgrims at the 
Grotto. — Eetum Homewards. — Tarbes. — Limoges : 
its Churches. — Issoudun. — Paris. — Versailles. — 
Eouen. — Jean d'Arc. — Dieppe. 

August 18th. — As mentioned in the last 
chapter, we came back to Lourdes this evening 
from Bagneres de Bigorre. Fortunately for us 
ve arrived a couple of hours before the out- 
break of a fierce thimderstorm which, had it 
overtaken us amidst the mountain passes, would 
have been very unfortunate for some of the 
female portion of the party. At Lourdes the 
noise of the thunder, as peal followed peal, was 
really terrifying to hear. Coming down the 
several valleys and gorges, the sound as it rever- 
berated from hillside to hillside showed how 
fiercely the war of elements was being car- 
ried on. But, loud as roared the thunder, the 


132 A Month at Lourdes. 

briUiant light with which the mountains were 
illuminated, as the electric current shot around 
their sides and ascended to their highest peaks,, 
was a truly grand and subUme spectacle to look 
upon and to admire. Few were abroad, for as 
the contending elements had exhausted them- 
selves, and became once more reconciled, 
copious tears were shed, as is the case in human 
quarrels. The noise of the torrent, which soon 
swelled the floods in the Gave, helped to com- 
pose the afirighted people into peaceful slum- 

August 19th, — Early on the morning of this 
day the shrill screams of the railway whistles 
proclaimed the fact that an imusual number of 
trains had arrived at the station, and soon the 
streets began to fill with the crowd of pilgrims, 
three thousand in number, who, amidst the fury 
of the storm, had travelled all night from dis- 
tant Paris, that they might have the privilege 
of making their religious devotions at the 
blessed shrine of Our Lady of N6tre Dame, at 
Lourdes. A little later on in the forenoon 
other trains arrived bringing a large number of 
pilgrims from the valleys and mountains of the 
Vosges. This day will ever be held in venera- 
tion at Lourdes. Now, indeed, did the Creator 

^ A Month at Lourdes. 133 

of the Universe show how powerful are the re- 
quests of the Blessed Mother of His Divine 
Son when pleading for her humble suppliants. 
After High Mass in the basilique, and when 
the thousands were assembled around the 
grotto, it was made known that a nun who had 
for many years suflfered from a serious malady, 
depriving her of the use of her limbs, was mira- 
culously cured and restored to perfect health. 
This miracle was followed by twenty-one others 
up to the afternoon of the 21st August, when 
the pilgrims left Lourdes to return to their dis- 
tant homes. These wonderful manifestations 
of God's favour at the shrine of Our Lady were 
received by the multitude with acts of thanks- 
giving and joy. Such was the fervour of the 
faithful, that a Protestant gentleman holding 
an important official position under the Govern- 
ment became reconciled to the Catholic Church. 
From the 19 th of August to the 18th of Sep- 
tember no fewer than thirty-five persons of all 
oonditions of society were miraculously cured of 
maladies, many of which had baffled the skill 
of the most eminent French physicians. I 
hold the names and addresses of the thirty- 
five persons referred to, which will be found 
in the succeeding chapter. It is none of my 

134 A Month at Lourdes. 

duty to discuss the authenticity of the many 
miracles which have been wrought at Lourdes. 
The opportunity of testing the genuineness of 
them has been brought home to the doors of 
the sceptics in hundreds of towns and villages 
throughout France and in other countries where 
the cured have resided. Although all who 
seek relief from bodily afflictions or other neces- 
sities do not obtain their requests at the shrine 
of Our Lady at Lourdes, none should hesi- 
tate to lay their petitions at the feet of the 
" Help of Christians/' and leave the rest to 
God. Let me narrate two cases where faith 
in Mary's intercession proved singularly effica- 
cious. An Irishman, who had visited Lourdes 
to seek restoration to health, by obtaining relief 
from a long endured infirmity, after a stay 
of some days experienced wonderful graces in 
his favour. After a time he left Lourdes on 
his return to Ireland in good health. Arrived 
at Bordeaux, and taking his passage for Liver- 
pool, as the steamer sailed down the Garonne, 
his former malady re-visited him. As the 
vessel had to touch at Pauillac, some thirty 
miles down the river, the Irishman, strong in 
his faith in Mary's intercession, left the steamer, 
forfeiting his passage money, and when ques- 

A Month at Lourdes. 135 

tioned why he would not continue his jour- 
ney, said, " I came from Ireland to the shrine 
of Our Lady at Lourdes, to be cured, and I will 
go back to that blessed spot and make the 
' Blessed Virgin cure me /" Back to Lourdes he 
went, and the faith which he held, and in his 
way so forcibly expressed, made him whole. 
Although some considerable time has since 
elapsed, no return of his malady has visited 
him. Again, a Catholic clergyman, an Irishman 
too, who had laboured amongst his countrymen 
for many years in America, and whose health 
had become enfeebled by the arduous duties of 
his ministry, sought relief from his afflictions at 
Lourdes, but did not find any mitigation of 
them. After some time this good priest 
took his return passage for America in one of 
the Cunard mail steamers. He had as fellow 
passengers two gentlemen, one a dignitary of 
the college of Maynooth, *who was on a visit 
to America, and the other a gentleman who 
held, and still holds, an important official posi- 
tion under the government of the United States 
in France, and from whom I had the particu- 
lars, as follows : ** From the time the steamer 
left Queenstown until she had reached mid- 
ocean the priest sufifered intensely, never ven- 

136 A Month at Lourdes. 

taring out of his cabin. As I had heard that 
he had been to Lourdes I was much interested 
in him, ^nd conversed often with him upon the 
many favours vouchsafed to persons who had 
visited there, but his sufferings were so great 
that he could not give his mind to much con- 
templation. On the eve of the feast of Our 
Lady of Mount Carmel, and the anniversary of 
the 18 th apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes, I 
asked him if he knew what day it was, but he 
had forgotten it. I then spoke to him about 
the great festival of the morrow, and recalled 
to his mind the grotto of Our Lady at Lourdes. 
I then asked him if he would wish to have some 
conversation with a priest who was on board 
the ship. He expressed his desire to see the 
priest, who, when I informed him of the con-^ 
dition of his brother clergyman, went at once 
to his assistance. Next morning when we ap- 
peared at the table for breakfast the worthy 
priest came amongst us, his afflictions having 
most miraculously departed from him, and, as 
he declared, all through the intercession of 
Mary of Lourdes. He is still hale and strong, 
and grateful to the Blessed Mother of God for 
the great favours shown to him by God through 
her intercession." 

A Month at Lourdes. 137 

It need not be wondered that such extraor- 
dinary graces granted at Lourdes should have 
been heard of at Rome, or that the Holy 
Father s attention was directed to the sacred 
shrine. Hence it was that the Pope sent a 
special ambassador to Lourdes, in the person 
of the Right Key. Monsignor Cretoni, Secretary 
of the Propaganda, charged with the duty of 
presenting to the church of N6tre Dame the 
"Golden Rose." This beautiful and touching 
souvenir from his Holiness was received on the 
15th of September, amidst great rejoicings, and 
now forms a distinguished object upon the 
high altar of the basilique. The Catholicity 
of Lourdes is seen in the congregating together 
of the faithful from all parts of the Christian 
world ; and, as a matter of course, Ireland is 
almost daily represented by many of her zealous 
bishops, priests, and people. During the present 
year, the following prelates of the Irish Church 
paid a visit to Lourdes : the Most Rev. ' Drs. 
Gillooly, M'Evilly, M'Cormack, Dorrian, and 
McCarthy. Lourdes only requires to be more 
fully known to increase the number of ifaith- 
ful pilgrims to the shrine of Our Lady in 
her favourite abode on the banks of the 
Gave. If anything I have written in. this 

138 A Month at Lourdes. 

little work will induce visits to Lourdes, and 
by so doing, contribute to honour the Blessed 
Virgin, and obtain graces for those who 
journey there, any little trouble which I 
may have had in its composition will be amply 
repaid. Before taking leave of Lourdes, let 
me say that the citizens are now endeavour- 
ing to repay to the good and sainted Monsignor, 
the late cur^ of Lourdes, a portion of the debt 
which, when living, they withheld from him. 
A statue to the departed cur^ is about to be 
placed in front of the church which his zeal for 
the glory of God had brought so near com- 
pletion, when his death removed him from the 
scenes amongst which he so long and so zealously 
laboured. One of the streets has had its 
former name removed, and that of the Vener- 
able Peyramale affixed to it. Having taken a 
last fond look of the moimtains, valleys, and 
woods of the Oave, and the beautiful church, 
convents, and ecclesiastical buildings, which the 
generous piety of the faithful have in such a 
short time raised up to the honour and glory 
of God, I took leave of the charming place in 
which I had spent the happiest weeks of my 
life, weeks which appeared as so many days, 
and directed my steps homewards. 

A Month at Lourdes. 139 

As I entered France upon its southern border, 
to vary my travels through the country I took 
a northern route upon leaving Lourdes. In 
doing this I traversed some of the most beau- 
tiful portions of that deUghtf ul country. The 
entire absence of weeds in the fields shows how 
carefully the land is cultivated. One could see 
more weeds in a mile's drive in Ireland or 
in England than could be seen in all France. 
The rotation of crops, as the farmers lay out 
their land, is very interesting to look at, and 
gives the country the appearance of a richly 
formed carpet. In straight lines of land of 
perhaps an acre each, you will see growing 
wheat, potatoes, hay, lucerne, maize, and green 
crop§ for feeding cattle. As the railway whirls 
you past, these various tinted crops present the 
appearance of a gorgeous ribbon, and the whole 
bespeaks a large measure of happiness of the 
people, to whose industry the charming pro- 
spective is due. 

The first city of note met with on the road 
from Lourdes to Paris is Tarbes, twenty-four 
miles from the first named place. This city is 
the residence of a bishop, and is the great 
school in which the cavalry of France are 
trained. The Government has here a large 

140 A Month at Lourdes. 

breeding stud Tarbes, like all the towns 
in the South of France, has a copious supply 
of pure water continuously running down its 
streets. On each side of the street there 
is a channel of say fourteen inches wide and 
four inches deep, through which the waters 
flow. The housewives bring their washing 
to the front of their houses, and, placing a 
board on end in the stream, wash their clothes. 
The water is also availed of to water the streets, 
and in caiTying out this sanitary requirement 
I am sorry to say that, to my mind, the gal- 
lantry of France is found wanting, as the work 
is performed by females. Two women traverse 
the streets, supplied with wooden scoops having 
long handles, they lift up the water and throw 
it across the roadway; efiectually laying the dust 
and cooling the heated atmosphere. Richard 
the Black Prince kept his court at Tarbes. 
Some fifty-four miles further, we come to Auch, 
where there is a splendid cathedral, whose 
imposing dimensions, as seen from the railway 
station, strikes the eye, for it is a grand object 
in the surrounding scenery. This cathedral 
dates back to the days of Clovis. The palace 
of the bishop is a magnificent building. Agen 
is next met, and this city, situated on the 

A Month at Lourdes. 141 

Garonne, has a canal which carries its waters 
over the river upon a viaduct of twenty- 
three arches. Placed on a high hill, there is a 
.colossal statue of the Blessed Virgin. Agen 
is the centre of the great fruit gardens of 
France. Thousands of tons of fruit, preserved 
in their own juice, are yearly exported to all 
parts of the world. 

The Garonne, being navigable by steamers of 
light draft from Agen to Bordeaux, facilitates 
the transit of produce to the seaside ports. 
The time occupied in going down the river 
is about eight hours, but owing to the strong 
current twelve hours are required to reach 
Agen from Bordeaux. Limoges is the next 
city of note reached after Agen, and this 
is one of the finest places on this route. 
The noble churches which Limoges possesses 
are well worth the attention of travellers. 
Having broken my journey here, I had some 
time to look about me. The cathedral of St. 
Etienne is said to be the finest of its style 
in France ; but the Church of St. Michel-aux- 
Leons arrests the notice of all comers. Standing 
upon the highest ground in the city, its lofty 
spire is lost in the clouds. This church takes its 
name from the huge lions, carved in stone, which 

142 A Month at Laurdes, 

are placed abore the portico. In the church 
of St Pierre, there is a stained-ghiss window 
over the high altar, of exquisite design, showing 
the death and coronation of the Blessed Virgin. 
Limoges was nearlj destroyed bj fire in 1 864, 
and the houses since erected to replace those 
burned down are of a superior stvle to the 
more ancient buildings. Here it was that the 
Black Prince caused the massacre of 3000 men, 
Airomen, and children, in consequence of being 
obliged to take the place bj siege. Not far 
from Limoges is Issoudun, a place rendered 
remarkable hj the many miracles wrought in 
the church of the '"Sacred Heart of Mary." 
Numerous visitors come yearly to Issoudun to 
pay their devotions. The church has a lofty 
square tower, upon which is placed a marble 
statue of the Virgin Mother of God, and which, 
from its great size, can be seen for many miles 
around. We passed Poitiers, Orleans, etc., and 
ere the shades of eyeuing set in, the gilded 
spires and domes of Paris broke upon the view. 
To a stranger visiting Paris for the first time, the 
scenes presented to his wondering observation 
are overpowering, for everything he beholds 
is so grand and so difierent from all other 
cities. The spacious Boulevards, the public 

A Month at Lourdes. 143 

buildings, the cliurches, and the appearance of 
the inhabitants, all combine to impress one with 
the conviction that this is the city par excel- 
lence of the world. 

My stay being necessarily short, it would be 
presumptuous in me to attempt a description of 
Paris. What time I had at my disposal en- 
abled me to pay a visit to Versailles. In the 
palaces which are at Versailles, all that wealth 
and art could do to show how a nation provides 
for its rulers has been done. The grounds, 
picture galleries, halls of audience, and salons 
are grand. In the court in which the state 
carriages are kept, wonderful evidences of de- 
sign and constructive skill are displayed. When 
[ state that some of the vehicles have cost 
£3000, their grandeur and sumptuousness may 
be imagined. The cicerone who accompanied 
my party, in pointing out one of the carriages, 
said, " This is the one in which the Prince Im- 
perial was taken to the Madeleine to be chris- 
tened, and when he goes to N6tre Dame to be 
crowned Emperor he will use the same one." 
Napoleonism evidently has a deep hold upon 
the affections of the French people. A visit 
to Versailles is worth the entire expense which 
might be incurred in a journey from this country. 

144 A Month at Lourdes. 

As you pass from Paris to Versailles, you see 
the buildings in the Champs de Mars, in which 
the world's great fair of 1878 wiU be held. 
The extent of ground covered by the Exhibition 
buildings is considerable. The Seine at Paris 
is of great breadth, and when I mention that 
the Exhibition buildings are placed upon both 
the banks of the Seine, and that a bridge is 
being constructed by which each portion of 
the building will be connected, some idea may 
be formed of the hugeness of the structure. 
Most of the Exhibition buildings are of a per- 
manent character, and are very handsome to 
look upon. 

Leaving Paris for Dieppe, the country tra- 
versed is very fine. The abundance of timber 
growing upon the land gives the landscape a 
warm look, and the many , ruins of ancient 
castles met with show how well their Norman 
possessors fortified their places of abode. Rouen, 
with its numerous churches should be seen. 
Here it was that the heroic Maid of Orleans, 
Jeanne d' Arc, was basely given up to the brutal 
English soldiery by the pusillanimous monarch, 
Charles VII., upon whose head she placed the 
crown of Prance. The young Shepherdess of 
Domr^my conceived the idea of rescuing her 

A Month at Lourdes. 145 

country from a foreign yoke, and when by her 
enthusiasm she had roused her countrymen and 
conquered the invaders, the poltroon, who had 
reached the throne by her superhuman exer- 
tions, stood calmly by whilst his benefactress 
and his people's saviour was being burned at 
the stake. Rome will soon do justice to the 
memory of the Shepherdess of Domrdmy, for I 
believe a process is going on which will secure 
for Jeanne d'Arc, a place in the long roll of 
heroic women who have fought and died for 
the faith. 

Dieppe now reached, the last scene of my 
travels upon French soil is about to close. 
This city is of historic fame, and it still pos- 
sesses objects tiiost worthy of the visitors 
attention. I was very much struck with the 
Cathedral of St. Jacques. At six a.m., I 
had the privilege of attending Benediction 
of the Blessed Sacrament, and, at that early 
hour, of also hearing a sermon preached after 
the service. The church of St. Jacques is 
being restored, and when the work will be 
completed, the ancient glories of the sacred 
edifice will once more be seen in all their 
grand proportions. Dieppe has a considerable 
shipping business. The merry fishwives as 


146 A Month at Lourdes. 

they trudge from the harbour with their pan- 
niers of fish strapped upon their shoulders, and 
the high cauled caps of pure white, with their 
various-coloured kirtles, are a picturesque sight 
to look upon. 

In the forenoon I sailed from Dieppe. As 
the two massive crucifixes on either side of the 
harbour gradually faded from my view, I could 
not forego the feeling of wishing peace and 
happiness to the country through whose hills 
and valleys I had rambled with so much plea- 
sure and profit. 

As all sublunary matters must have an end, 
so have my " Vacation Rambles in Southern 
Prance." No one is more conscious of the 
many imperfections in my descriptions of 
persons, scenery, and places contained in my 
narrative than I am myself ; but I trust that 
those who have followed me in my travels, 
will have derived some little pleasure from 
perusing this work, and in their charity will 
overlook the many shortcomings which they 
may find in it. 

A Month at Lourdes. 147 


Presentation of the Golden Eose by Pope Pius IX. — 
Interesting Ceremony. — Speeches of the Archbishop 
of Rheims, and the Papal Delegate. — Pius IX. and 
the Water of Lourdes. — Details of the ^N'umerous 
Miraculous Cures. — Appendix. 

The Pope sent, by the Italian pilgrims, who 
arrived at Lourdes on the 15th September, 
1877, as an offering to Our Lady's Shrine, a 
" Golden Rose Tree." This elegant work of 
art is divided into several small branches, 
on which are three full-blown roses in the 
midst of leiaves of gold ! A fourth is just 
commencing to unfold its beauties ; and there 
are six charming buds. This rose tree rests 
in a large vase, skilfully and delicately worked 
with silver and gold, ornamented with emeralds 
and precious stones, and with bas-reliefs, 
where are seen the Eucharistic com and wine, 
and two sweet adoring statuettes of angels, 
who hold in their hands — one the Anchor of 
Hope, the other the Archiepiscopal Cross. 

This Rose, which was presented to Pius TX. 
by the Confraternity of Our Mother of the 
Sacred Heart of Issoudun, was sent by the 


148 A Month at Lourdes. 

Holy Father to the Virgin Immaculate of 
Lourdes as a testimony of his love for the 
Mother of God. It is placed upon the High 
Altar of the basilica, at the feet of the 
Crowned Virgin, under the Golden Palm which 
the Pope sent a year ago. The ItaUan 
pilgrims arrived at Lourdes on the 15th of 
September, and consisted of sixty-three persons, 
many of whom were ecclesiastics. Monsignor 
Cretoni, Domestic Prelate of His Holiness, 
came with the pilgrims. On Sunday morning, 
before celebrating the pilgrims' Mass, the Mon- 
signore expressed the feelings the pilgrims had 
experienced in setting foot on the soil of 
France, whose faith and charity they admired' 
so much. He dwelt upon the joy they had 
felt on arriving at Lourdes — " Lourdes, nestled 
amongst picturesque mountains and deUghtful 
valleys ! A new Eden, where they had found 
a new Eve — Mary !" He reminded the pilgrims 
that they had come to render homage to Our 
Mother of Lourdes, in the name of Pius IX. 
and Catholic Italy ; to pray for their much 
loved Pontiff, for the Eternal City, and for 
their dear country, oppressed by the impiety 
of the revolution. Nothing could have been 
more graceful, elegant, touching, and eloquent 

A Month at Lourdes. 149 

than the harmonious Italian language, as it 
flowed from the lips and from the heart of the 
amiable and pious prelate. At the conclusion 
of the Mass, Monsignor Cretoni, on his knees 
before the altar, his arms outstretched with 
love towards the image of the Holy Virgin, 
presented to Our Mother of Lourdes a large 
and magnificent Silver Heart — symbol of the 
hearts He came to consecrate . to her. He 
implored her to cast from the heights of 
Heaven a -glance of love and grace upon her 
children, prostrated before her, in that place 
to her so dear. He prayed to her by her 
name so sweet, "Immaculate.'' "All the 
world," he continued, " come and bow the 
knee here, at the foot of thy throne ! Thy 
well-beloved children of Italy, nurtured with 
their mother s milk in infancy, and reared up 
in constant devotion to thee ; amongst them 
thou hast confided thy house of Nazareth, 
and they will ever put their trust in thee. 
On this day, sacred in honour of thy dolours, 
they mingle their tears with the tears of their 
Holy Mother, and seek to obtain a blessing and 
benediction for their souls, for the Pope, for 
Italy, and for the Church I " The evening 
ceremony was piost solemn. The pilgiims 

150 A Month at Lourdes. 

assembled at the grotto, where they placed the 
Rose Tree of Gold. They march in pro- 
cession to the basilica, singing the " Ave Mam 
Stella " and the Litany of Loretto. They are 
received in triumph in the church by the priests 
and servers, who sing the hjinn of Pius IX., 
" Glory to the Universal Pontiff." His Grace 
the Archbishop of Rheims represented on 
this solemn occasion Monsignor the Bishop 
of Tarbes, who was absent from his diocese. 
He received on his knees the splendid offering 
of Pius IX., kissing the Rose at the same 

The Envoy of the Pope, Monsignor Cretoni, 
then delivered in the harmonious Italian tongue, 
the thoughts of his pious heart. He spoke of 
the branches of the rose, queen of flowers by 
the delicacy of its form, the variety of its 
colour, and the sweetness of its perfume. He 
exalted her whom the Church terms the Mysti- 
cal Rose, who condescended to appear with 
roses to the little peasant girl — that Mystical 
Rose who is Queen of Angels, the glory of 
the Church, of the earth, and of Italy. ** Pius 
the IX. (he said), in sending a rose to the Im- 
maculate Virgin at Lourdes, testifies that she is 
the most exalted of aU creatures and the most 

A Month at Lotirdes. 151 

dear to his heart. He thus shows also his 
veneration for this illustrious sanctuary. 
Formerly the Popes sent roses to crowned 
heads, great personages who had rendered 
signal services to the Church. They also sent 
them to the most renowned sanctuaries in the 
world. For example, Gregory XIII. to Our 
Mother of Loretto, and Paul V. to Saint Mary 
Major- Rejoice, then, venerable guardians of 
this glorious sanctuary ! Pius IX. throws a 
new lustre over it to-day by sending this 
Golden Rose ! Let us rejoice, well-beloved 
brothers of Italy and France. Let this 
precious gift revive our hopes ! The rose is 
the flower of spring time. Winter — the 
winter of the Revolution — desolates everywhere 
the Catholic nations I But this rose, sent by 
the Pope to the Immaculate Virgin, is the 
sign of a new spring-time, which God will yet 
give to His Church and faithful people." This 
allocution visibly moved and melted the feel- 
ings of the whole assembly. Monsignor 
Langenieux rose to respond. He congratu- 
lated the Envoy of the Holy Father on having 
expressed with so much grace and force the 
sentiments which stirred the heart of the 
PontiflF. He said : " Pius IX. particularly and 

152 A Month at Lourdes. 

especially loves Our Mother of Lourdes, and 
his preference is both natural and just. It is 
here that the Immaculate Virgin has provided 
remedies for the evils which desolate the age, 
that pride which glorifies man, that materialism 
which classes him with the brute, that re- 
volutionary spirit which says science and 
knowledge are all-sufficient. Pius IX. had 
prepared a remedy by the proclamation of the 
' Immaculate Conception.' The Virgin ap- 
peared at this grotto to confirm the word of 
the Pope, and prepare the dogma of his Infal- 
libility ! Mary Immaculate, manifested to the 
world, affirms at once both the fall and the 
grandeur of man. She is the glory of hu- 
manity ! Secondly, Pius IX. has testified, as 
the Envoy of the Pope has said so well, that 
the rose is the sign of the spring-time of hope. 
The heart of Pius IX., so thoroughly French 
as it is, sends us this hope with the 
Golden Rose, ofiered to a French Madonna. 
The Immaculate Virgin of Lourdes will save 
France, and by saving France will save Italy 
and the Papacy ! Pius IX., we are assured of 
it, will take part in that triumph. Like that 
heroine of France, whose image I love to con- * 
template in the grand Cathedral of Rheims, 

A Month at Lourdes. 153 

Pius IX., after having suffered the pain, will 
also share in the honour/' 

Doctor Seccarelli, physician to Pius IX., in 
the summer of 1877, obtained leave of absence 
to enable him to visit the grotto at Lourdes. 
He gave, with much joy, good news of the 
Pope's health. Rheumatism, which prevented 
his walking, caused him some pain when he 
moved about. Nevertheless, the pious Pontiff 
said Holy Mass every day, which of necessity 
inconvenienced him much. He added that 
Pius IX., by giving an example of obedience 
to the physicians, submitted to their treat- 
ment. At last, finding their remedies were 
useless, he renounced them. The Pontiff 
said, smilingly, " I only wish to use the oil 
of the Holy Virgin, the water of Lourdes." 
Each day He made, with this water, the sign 
of the Cross upon the paralysed limb, and the 
evening before the departure of the physician, 
Pius IX. received 400 bottles of the Lourdes 
water of the grottt), which he delighted in dis- 
pensing to the sick. A Cardinal, on wishing 
for two bottles of it, was answered by the 
Pope's Chamberlain, " You must wait till I 
have given an account of the water to the Holy 

154 A Month at Lourdes. 

The grotto has been much improved by the 
Fathers in charge. A handsome railing is 
placed in front, and large stands, which hold 
some 200 candles, are continually burning 
before the statue of Our Lady. Outside the 
grotto the space taken in from the Gave is 
covered with a composition which keeps the 
ground smooth and clean, whilst along the river 
a wall of granite is fixed, on the land side of 
which there is a ledge which serves as a seat. 
There is also on the south side of the grotto 
a rustic pulpit, from which the various pil- 
grims are addressed by the pastors who 
accompany them from their homes. There is 
a supply of candles kept close to the grotto, 
of which pilgrims can purchase and make an 
offering at the shrine. The gates of the 
grotto are closed each night at ten o'clock, but 
many linger . about the place praying and 
drinking at the fountain. 

August SOth.* — Madame Stephanie Depeme 
religieuse of the Christian Education Society of 
Loos-lez-Lille (Nord), aged thirty-three years, 
suflFered from chronic rheumatism for seventeen 

* The cures here given are translated from the 
" Annales de Lourdes," for August and September, 

A Month at Lourdes. 155 


years. The doctors said she might be relieved, 
but not cured. Carried to the basilica, she 
received Holy Communion, supported by her 
mother and sister. She was /taken down to 
the grotto, where she remained praying to 
the Holy Virgin for a considerable time. 
Having made a vow to the Blessed Virgin, she 
was carried to the bath in which she stayed 
for a while. She came out, her rheumatism 
except in one foot had vanished ; after a second 
bath all the pains had left her. For the 
whole of the day and night she remained at 
the grotto, charitably assisting others to par- 
take of the bath and water of the grotto. Half 
an hour after this first miracle, Mrs. Lefevre, 
(n6e Lambert), a widow, aged sixty-five years, 
finding herself helpless upon the death of 
her husband, was admitted into the Hospice of 
Charity at Paris. From infancy she had suf- 
fered from a disease in one knee ; and during 
the past year she could only walk with crutches. 
She kept her bed all last winter ; her health 
was somewhat better in spring ; she came with 
the pilgrims, having procured a " free ticket " 
for the journey ; she goes into the bath, and is 
immediately cured. 

Madame Augustine Quille of Gien (Loiret), 

156 A Month at Lourdes. 

suffered during the past eight years. During 
the last two years, her limbs had been para- 
lyzed. She tried the mineral waters of Boiu*- 
bon TAnhambault, which only aggravated her 
disease. She suffered greatly coming from Paris 
to Bordeaux. At the latter place, the doctor 
accompanying the pilgrims sustained her 
strength with morphia and one of the priests 
administered extreme unction to her. Carried 
from the railway station at Lourdes, and placed 
in the bath, she felt a great sensation of health 
and force in all her body ; she was able to 
walk out of the bath ' alone, and go up to the 
house of the missionaries, where all the particu- 
lars of her case were recorded. 

Miss Mary Brugfere, residing at 64, Avenue 
des Temes, Paris, had been aflSicted for more 
than two years with rheumatic gout, left behind 
by typhoid fever; she felt herself greatly 
relieved in the bath ; the swelling in her hands 
entirely disappeared. 

The Rev. Mother Marie-des-Anges, superior- 
ess of the Third Order of St. Dominick at Bou- 
logne-sur-Mer, forty-eight years of age, had 
been a religieuse since she was fifteen years old. 
About three years ago a fracture of the knee- 
joint causing an effusion of matter — coupled 

A Month at Lourdes, 157 

with an enormous swelling. She suflFered so 
much that she did not desire to go to Lourdes, 
but, yielding to a formal order of the Superior- 
General, she went, experiencing on the journey 
acute and grievous sufferings. The religious 
who accompanied her, plunged the patient into 
the bath twice without her experiencing any 
relief, but the third time she felt herself quite 
ciu'ed. The pain and swelling had left her. 
All those cures took place before the evening 
services in the basiUca. 

Sister Mary Joseph of the Holy Childhood 
of Mary, aged twenty-nine years, of the Con- 
vent at Thierville. She was afflicted with con- 
sumption, had got to the last stage of that in- 
sidious disease, dry cough, spitting of blood, 
and sleeplessness at night. These symptoms 
made the doctor say " that she would not be 
here long." She had kept her bed six weeks. 
The good religieuse had offered up her life as a 
sacrifice ; she was not inclined to ask for its 
prolongation; obedience made it a duty that she 
should go to Lourdes. She obeyed, but with a 
certain fear, praying God's Will might be done. 
Since she thus prayed, she found herself not so 
ill, and was able to join in the Lorraine pilgrim- 
age. She suffered much dimng the journey from 

158 A Month at Lourdes. 

coughing. She was taken to the bath, and 
when in the water felt herself constrained to 
pray that she might be cured, so as to become 
an instrument for the conversion of sinners. 
She was cured and became most active and 
earnest in praising God and His Blessed Mother, 
and in assisting the others who were aflSicted. 

August 21sL — Miss Mary Eugenie Bilon of 
Bertrimontier (Vbsges), thirty-four years of 
age. At fourteen years of age she had a fall 
which injured her knee. She was compelled to 
use crutches ; she came with the Lorraine pil- 
grimage. Going into the bath she was enabled 
to walk out of it without any assistance. She 
proceeded up to the house of the missionaries, 
and although her knee was not entirely healed, 
all pain had left her. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Aubertin of Mayemont, aged 
forty-five years, had sufiered for the past six 
years ; after bathing, found all her pains (rheu- 
matic) leave her. 

Mrs. Marie Ernestine Chaperon, of St. 
Lumi6re-en-Champagne, aged thirty-six years, 
got a cold eight years ago, the result of which 
was a rupture in the right leg, which caused her 
to keep her bed for months. The disease was 
pronounced incurable. Plunged into the bath 

A Month at Lourdes. 159 

she was completely cured, and walked to the 
grotto and to the house of the missionaries. 

Miss Marie Aubert of Tonnains, forty-eight 
years of age, had been subject all her life to 
ill-health, vomiting, heart disease, etc. Eighteen 
months ago hpr hands and legs became swollen. 
She was placed in the bath, and was immediately 

Germain Vigneroux, of the parish of St. 
Martin, L'Aveyron, nine years of age. When 
two years old, a tumour came in her knee, 
which developed into a sore, from which there 
was an issue ; she walked on crutches, and 
after she had been plunged twice in the bath, 
she came out unassisted. 

Justine Lepelletier, of Lille, thirty-four 
years of age, had suffered ten years rheumatic 
gout, which had settled in her legs, feet, and 
hands. The bones were ready to come through 
the flesh ; the doctors declared her case incur- 
able. Bathing three times in the bath, her 
legs and feet were completely cured and the 
swelling disappeared. 

Miss Catherine Noell d'Aurillac had suf- 
fered for five years from violent pulsations of 
the heart and pains in the stomach. After 
drinking four glas^s of the water the palpita- 

160 A Month at Lourdes, 

tions of the heart ceased, and her appetite 
returned to her. 

Victorine Loth, of Paris, 22, Avenue Fried- 

, land, aged twenty-seven years, suffered since 

last winter from gangrene, which wasted away 

her body and caused her great sufferings. 

After bathing she was completely cured. 

August 22nd, — Mrs. Girard, of Niort, had 
been ill for four years with an internal cancer, 
attended with bleeding. She came from Niort 
by easy stages, because of her sufferings. In 
the bath she felt suffocated, and believed she 
was dying. She remained fifteen minutes in 
the water and, coming out of it, she cried, " I 
am cured !" 

During the three days in which the National 
Pilgrimage from Paris was at Lourdes twenty- 
two miraculous cures were completed. 

September 4th. — M. Fernand St. Elme, of 
D'Autry, thirty years of age, had suffered 
most cruelly from chronic rheumatism since he 
was sixteen months old. In consequence, his 
left side was paralyzed and incurable. Assisted 
by his uncle and a kind cousin he plunged into 
the bath ; he at once felt a powerful contrac- 
tion in the stricken side, soon followed by a 
gradual feeling of warmth. ,He was astonished 

A Month at Lourdes. 161 

to find that the hand, awhile ago quite power- 
less and paralyzed, regained its power. The 
following day (5th) he was able, without any 
assistance, to follow in the procession and to 
take a second bath, which confirmed his cure. 

Miss Louise Pdrinet, of Charenton-sur-Cher, 
seventeen years of age, had been tormented, 
since the preceding July, with a spasmodic 
affection of the throat, which caused her 
great suffering. She washed her throat with 
the water of the grotto, and was instantly 

Miss Susan Bruneti^re, of Fontenoy-le- 
Comte, 43, Rue Royale, aged twenty- three 
years, since she was five years old was aflSicted 
with a spinal disease. She came, with much 
difficulty, with the Vend6me Pilgrimage, and, 
after bathing in the bath, came out perfectly 
restored to health. 

September 6fL — Miss Mary Perraud, of Tizan 
(Vendue), twenty-one years of age, suffered 
since she was eight years old with a disease of 
the spine and hip-joint. She was admitted to 
the Hospital for Incurables at Laroche-sur- 
Yon. She came to Lourdes, and could only 
walk with difficulty upon two crutches. After 
a bath she discarded her crutches, and after a 


162 A Month at Lour ties. 

second one she was perfectly restored to the 
use of her limbs and to good health. 

Miss Gertrude Schass, aged twenty-one, of 19, 
Grafton Street, London, suffered from phthisis 
since she was two years old. After several 
baths, her malady had completely left her. 

September 7th. — Madame Josephine Gastey 
of Demu (Gers), thirty-two years of age, was 
afflicted with neuralgia and frequent hemor- 
rhages. The doctors abandoned all hope of 
her recovery She was advised to try the 
mineral waters of Bagneres de Bigorre, but she 
came with her husband to Lourdes. She 
washed and drank of the waters of the foun- 
tain, and was suddenly cured. 

September 14th. — Miss Mary Daniel de Beau- 
mont Pdrigord, aged twenty-two years, had been 
afflicted for several years with a swelling in the 
knee, which the doctors despaired of curing. 
When in the bath she experienced an intense 
shock of cold, followed by a gradual warmth. 
She came out of the water healed, and, leaving 
her crutches behind her, joined in a procession 
to the church. 

Madame Mathilde Sieurac, of Lezat (Ari^ge), 
aged twenty-nine years, was seized on the 9 th 
of October, 1876, with a cerebral bleeding, 

A Month at Lourdes, 163 

followed by paralysis of the left side. The 
left foot was twisted round. On leaving the 
bath, her foot returned to its natural position, 
and she walked unassisted. 

September 1 7th — Miss Marie Nougu^s, of 
121, Rue St Michel, Toulouse, aged twenty-four 
years, was attacked eighteen months ago with 
a severe disease in the stomach. The doctors 
gave her up. Arrived with the pilgrimage from 
Villefranche, she was carried to the Basilica, 
where phe Communicated, was then brought 
down to the bath in a caniage, and dipped 
into the water whilst covered with perspiration. 
After a moment of oppression, she felt herself 
cured ! She then walked to the grotto, where she 
fell upon her knees to thank Our Blessed Lady, 
and then ascended the steep road to the basilica. 
She wrote from Toulouse on the 20th of Septem- 
ber, that her cure had caused a great sensation, 
and had been productive of much good. 

September 18th. — Miss Gabrielle Loiseleur, 
of Chinon, residing at the Priory of St. Louan, 
aged twenty-four years, was aflSicted since eight 
years old by an aflfection of the hip-joint and 
of her spine ; she could not walk without 
crutches ; she accompanied the pilgrims from 
Tours. She went into the bath and was cured. 


164 A Month at Lourdes, 

Madame Julia Renard, of Tours, afflicted 
since sixteen years old with rheumatic gout — 
suflFering more especially for the last two years 
— felt all her pains leave her whilst in the 

Madame Guerrier, of Beaume (C6te d'Or), 
had been suflFering from paralysis of the lower 
half of her body. She was carried to the 
basilica, where she heard Holy Mass and re- 
ceived Holy Communion seated in a carriage. 
Immediately she received Holy Communion 
she went upon her knees, and after Mass raised 
herself up, and unaided taking the arm of her 
husband, she walked to the grotto, a consider- 
able distance. Madame Guerrier s husband is 
a magistrate at Beaume. 

M. Guillet, Archpriest of Niort, in giving an 
account of the pilgrimage from Poitiers, men- 
tions the cure of Madame Gerard, and says : 
"This cure was the immediate occasion of 
much joy to a foreign lady in our pilgrimage. 
Her husband, an oflBcer, witness with her of 
the miracles, said at once, ' I came here for 
curiosity ; now I am convinced and believe /' " 
M. Guillet writes further, stating that the little 
girl, Susan Servant, who lay in her bed for two 
nights at the grotto, and whose case excited so 

A Month at Lourdes. 165 

much sympathy, has, since her return home, 
been perfectly restored to health. 

September 2Mh. — Sister Rosalie, of the 
Congregation of St. Joseph, at Lyons, had 
been suffering from consumption and pains in 
her knees for three years. She was brought 
to Lourdes by the pilgrims from Rodez. 
She walked with extreme pain to the grotto. 
Having been placed in the bath, her pains 
became most agonising, and she requested the 
sister who was with her to lift her out. In 
obedience to the sister she once more goes into 
the water, after remaining in which for a few 
minutes, she finds herself cured, walks out of 
the water, joins in the procession to the Basilica 
singing the "Magnificat." 

Many .other most extraordinary cures were 
effected at the grotto of Lourdes during the 
remaining months of the autumn, particulars 
of which are recorded in the "Annales de 
Lourdes," a very interesting publication issued 
monthly, which can be had by applying to the 
Rev. Superior of the Missionaries, Maison des 
Missionaires, Lourdes, Hautes de Pyr^n^es. 
The subscription for twelve months, post paid, 
is 3f. 50c., or 3s. annually. 

166 A Month at Lourdes. 



Before leaving home, travellers would do well to bear 
the following particulars in mind. Take as small a 
quantity of luggage as you can possibly do with, and so 
escape much annoyance and many impositions. Pro- 
vide a sufficient supply of soap, brushes, etc., for your 
toilet, as these articles are not supplied by hotelkeepers. 
Take a good-sized umbrella, of white material, so as to 
escape from the inconvenience of the sun's rays, anci be 
sure to bring with you a good field-glass, as by so doing 
you will enjoy the grandeur of the scenery to be met 
with in the Pyrenean mountains and valleys. Change 
your English money into French coins, as in many 
places you will find it difficult to get shopkeepers and 
others to understand the value of English money. 

The regulations which are laid down for the hiring 
of cabs, etc, are very stringent and are quickly put in 
force by the police if violated. Each conductor is 
bound to give the hirer of his vehicle a ticket, upon 
comparing which with the printed card, placed in the 
coach, etc., the correct fare can be easily ascertained. 
Choose the best hotels at which to stay, as the differ- 
ence in charges betwixt first and second class hotels 
is very trifling, and is more than covered by the supe- 
rior accommodation which will be provided for you. It 
is not necessary that you should have all meals at the 
hotel at "which you may be staying, but it is requisite 
before leaving your hotel in the morning to inform the 
landlord of your intention not to be back for dinner, 
etc. At most of the hotels the cost of attendance is 
included in the bills ; but where this is omitted, one 
half-franc a day is held to be sufficient for the services 

A Month at Lourdes. 167 

For such as wish to reach Lourdes from London, any 
of the routes from Dover, Folkestone, or Newhaven to 
Paris may be selected, according to taste or other con- 
siderations. The traveller can reach Lourdes from 
London, via Paris and Bordeaux, in twenty-four hours, 
and at or about a cost of, say, for first-class, £4 75. 4c?.; 
second ditto, £3 65. M, ; and third ditto, £2 85. 0^. 

There are steamers sailing from London, Liverpool, 
Glasgow, and Dublin for the City of Bordeaux, by 
which Lourdes can be reached in about three days ; 
and as the passengers are found in everything in the 
way of food, except wines and spirits, which are to be 
had on board at reasonable prices, those who have time 
and are not afraid of sea-sickness will find an excursion 
by sea a most enjoyable way of reaching Bordeaux. 
The vessels which sail from Dublin and Glasgow are 
only occasional traders, and have not such good accom- 
modation for passengers as those sailing from Liverpool 
have. Two lines of steamers, leave Liverpool regularly 
for Bordeaux. The Pacific Company's Royal Mail 
steamers, each alternate Wednesday; and James Moss 
and Co.'s steamers, which sail weekly. The rates of 
passage by the Pacific Company's vessels are : first- 
class, £6 OS, ; second-class, £3 35., with the option of 
returning first-class for £8. By James Moss and Co.'s 
steamers, the rates are : first-class, £4, return, £7 ; 
second-class, £2 IO5. 

The railway fares from Bordeaux to Lourdes are : 
first-class £1 75. Zd, ; second, 195. bd, ; and third, 
155. 2,d. — the time taken about eight hours. If when 
at Bordeaux, and time permit, the Circular Tickets, is- 
sued by Messrs. Cook and Sons, which cost £3 O5. Id, 
will enable the traveller to see some of the most 
beautiful places in the Pyr^n^es, namely, Agen, Mont- 
auban, Toulouse, Montrejeau, Tarbes, Bagneres de 
Bigorre, Lourdes, Pierrefitte, Pau, Bayonne, Dax, and 
Arcachon, allowing twenty days for the tour. 

If visitors to Lourdes wish to return to Paris by a 
different route than by Bordeaux, they can do so by 

168 A Month at Lourdes. 

travelling to Agen, Limoges, Issoudun, and Orleans, 
and thus have an opportunity of seeing some beautiful 
scenery. Tours, the birthplace of St. Martin, uncle to 
the Apostle of Ireland, is easily reached by this route. 
Coming from Paris to Lourdes, vid Bordeaux, I would 
advise the traveller to choose the route by Pau, instead 
of that by Tarbes, as by doing so the pics and valleys 
of the Gave can be seen to great •advantage, besides 
the traveller will have a good view of the churches 
and Calvary at Betharram. The difference in time and 
cost is very trifling. 

I don't know that there is anything upon which I 
could be of advantage to notice, as all intelligent travel- 
lers will readily enough find the means of easily fill- 
ing up any omissions which I may have made.